Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December Gardening Calendar

Houseplants
Weeks 1-4: Water houseplants with tepid water. Cold tap water may shock plants
Weeks 1-4: Be sure newly purchased indoor plants are well protected for the trip home. Exposure to icy temperatures for even a few moments may cause injury.
Weeks 1-4: Overwintering geraniums like bright light and cool temperatures. Keep soils on the dry side
Weeks 1-4: On cold nights, move houseplants back from icy windows to prevent chilling injury.
Weeks 3-4: Mulch flower and bulb beds after the ground freezes, to prevent injury to plants from frost heaving.
Weeks 2-4: Holiday Poinsettia basics: Sun for at least half of the day. Keep away from drafts, registers and radiators. Night temperatures in 50’s or low 60’s, days at 70 degrees. The soil should dry only slightly between thorough waterings. Discard the drainage. Be sure to punch holes in the decorative foil wraps to prevent soggy soil conditions.
Ornamentals
Weeks 1-4: Hairspray works well to keep seed heads and dried flowers intact on wreaths and
arrangements.
Weeks 1-4: Living Christmas tree basics: - dig the planting hole before the ground freezes. - mulch and cover the backfill soil and the planting hole to keep them dry and unfrozen. - don’t allow the tree’s roots to become dry. - spray with an anti-transpirant to reduce needle moisture loss. - store the tree outdoors in a cool, shady, windless area until the last minute. Mulch the roots to prevent cold injury. - set the tree up in your coolest room. - don’t keep the tree indoors for more than one week. Plant outdoors promptly.
Weeks 1-4: Be sure the root zones of azaleas and rhododendrons are thoroughly mulched. Any organic material will do, but mulches made from oak leaves, shredded oak bark, or pine needles are preferred.
Weeks 1-3: Christmas trees hold needles longer if you make a clean, fresh cut at the base and always keep the trunk standing in water.
Weeks 1-3: Only female holly trees bear the colorful berries. There must be a male tree growing nearby for pollination, if fruits are desired.
Weeks 1-3: Hollies may be trimmed now and the prunings used in holiday decorations.
Miscellaneous
Week 1: If you feed rabbits corn or alfalfa, they may leave fruit tree bark unharmed.
Week 1: Apply mulches to bulbs, perennials and other small plants once the ground freezes.
Week 1: All power equipment should be winterized before storage. Change the oil and lubricate moving parts. Either drain fuel systems or mix a gas stabilizing additive into the tank.
Week 1: Clean and oil all garden hand tools before storing for winter.

--Missouri Environment & Garden newsletter

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