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July August September October November December

Garden Tasks for December

Adopt the pace of nature;
her secret is patience.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Care for Cut Christmas Trees

A great way to keep your cut Christmas tree and greens fresh is to spray them with "Wilt Pruf".  This spray is a light, waxy protective coating that prevents them from drying out.  It is applied directly onto the needles.  It’s best to do this before bringing your tree inside.  Once the tree is inside and set in the stand, make sure to give it a good drink of water right away.  You should also add tree preservative to the water or a half can of sprite or mountain dew.  If the tree is placed near a heat vent, the vent should be partially or completely closed.  Continue to water as-needed.

Care for Live Christmas Trees

Dig your hole now!  the ground will be softer. If you wait until after Christmas, it’s possible the ground will be frozen.  Cover the hole and save the backfill dirt in the garage to avoid freezing.  A live tree must first be acclimated to a warmer temperature.  Place the tree in your garage for a few days before taking it inside.  This also is a good time to apply "Wilt Pruf"—an anti-desiccant and flame-retardant spray that coats the needles to prevent them from drying out.  Choose a spot in your house that is relatively cool.  Do not place near a fireplace or open heat vent.  Set tree in a large tub and keep root  ball moist with damp cloth, towels, or newspaper.  The tree should not be placed in standing water.  Fill the tub with pine nuggets (for aesthetics) after tree is in place.  Keep the tree inside for a maximum of 7-10 days.  Be sure to take it back out to the garage for 2-3 days before planting.  Keep a bag of compost handy to condition the soil and use starter fertilizer to help reduce transplant shock.  Make sure to cover the top of the root ball with mulch.  Water thoroughly after planting (15-30 minutes) and every 2 to 3 weeks as needed.

Perennials & Roses

  • Check any plants recently planted;  provide adequate moisture for new roots.

  •  If frost has heaved them up, gently press back into soil.

  •  Mulch with leaves or evergreen boughs after ground freezes; usually after the new year.

Trees & Shrubs

  • If your soil is too acidic, add lime.  Because it moves slowly through the soil, it will reach your plants’ roots when they need it in early spring.

  • After heavy snowfalls or ice storms, avoid tampering with plants—let ‘mother nature’ remove snow and ice.

  • Check young trees and shrubs for bark nibbled off by hungry rodents.  Wrap trunks to protect them from further damage.

  • Watering: if we have a dry winter, it is a good idea to water ‘newly’ planted trees and shrubs.  The best way is to set the hose at the base of the tree and let it run on a slow drip for about 15 minutes; every three weeks is sufficient.

Lawns

  • Rake up leaves and other debris when lawn isn’t under snow.

  • Minimize salt deposits on areas near walks and driveways.

  • Perform soil test if not done previously.

  • Store mower (with its gas tank drained) with other lawn supplies in a secure, dry place.

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