December Lawn & Garden To-Do List

Houseplants sitting in pots on windowsill in the winter
Ah, something green to focus on! (DepositPhotos)


  • Make sure your plants are out of drafts and in the brightest spot possible.
  • Increase humidity by sitting groups of plants on trays of pebbles. Add water to the pebbles (but not deep enough to soak into the roots of the plant).
  • If, back in September, you started your Christmas cactus and poinsettias on a regime of 14 hours of darkness per day, you can bring them out now into a bright spot. They should be kept relatively cool and away from heat sources and drafts. Don’t overwater.
  • Keep houseplants free of dust. Wipe glossy-leaved plants gently with a sponge, and lightly rinse other plants in the sink or tub with a fine spray of water.
  • Reduce fertilization of houseplants.
  • If you receive plants as gifts, poke holes in the gift foil and sit on a tray to allow for drainage.

Rolled up garden hose
When temperatures dip, it’s time to drain your garden house and store it inside. (DepositPhotos)

Cleanup and Maintenance

  • Continue adding mulch to trees, shrubs, and planting beds.
  • If the ground does not freeze in your climate, you can address drainage issues by burying drainage pipes, routing downspouts, and installing French drains. The winter landscape often makes it easier to spot drainage issues.
  • Cold wind and rain can wreak havoc on garden tools. Bring them indoors and be sure to clean and oil them thoroughly.
  • If you’ve never ordered plants or seeds before, check out some garden catalogs. Once you see how many beautiful plants are out there, you’ll be hooked!
  • Keep bird feeders filled, and make sure the feed doesn’t get moldy or frozen.
  • Make sure your garden hoses are drained and put away, and that outdoor faucets are covered and insulated.
  • Be careful when hanging holiday lights! Make sure lights and cords are waterproof and approved for exterior use. Also, make sure they are firmly secured and out of the way of foot traffic.


  1. Bad problem with moles tearing up lawn. Thought about hiring an exterminator but wont the moles just migrate over from neighbor’s yard?

    • Treat the lawn for grubs. Moles will go elsewhere if they find no grubs in your lawn to enjoy, Use BT two years in a row. After that, it shouldn’t be necessary.


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