Winter. It’s right around the corner. With so many of us living in the midst of cold, blustery weather, the need for keeping our favorite, festive holiday plants in top shape is soon to be a pressing need for many of us in the northern hemisphere. With this in mind, here are a few of my favorite December Gardening Tips!
Tips for caring for the living, cut, or bulged Christmas tree varieties:
- Be sure to select trees with firm needles; individual needles should bend rather than snap. Also, inspect the stump; the cut end of a fresher tree should remain moist and have sticky sap.
- When you get the tree home, cut 2 inches off the base of the trunk.
- Always be sure to submerge a freshly cut tree stump into a bucket of water; trees can absorb 1 gallon of water in the first 24 hours.
- Check the water level in your tree stand twice a day for the first week. Add water as needed. Each day, trees can drink roughly 1 quart of water for every inch of trunk diameter.
- If your tree dries out, the wound likely healed over and stopped absorbing water. Make a fresh cut on the stump and it can absorb water again.
- When decorating fresh cut trees indoors, avoid placing fresh evergreens on wood surfaces; sap from branches can damage the finish.
- When Christmas is over, recycle your tree yourself; cut off branches, and use as insulation over perennials.
- For those with enclosed, bulged trees, such are one of our four-holiday trees, as seen above, be sure to keep in an enclosed bucket, which can be encased in a decorative tin or basket, and watered 1 gallon weekly. I chose a shorter, Aspen Pine, which will be planted after the holidays outdoors!
Additional Gardening Tips for December:
- Amaryllis bulbs. Place amaryllis bulbs in pots for blooms for two weeks prior to blooming. Leave the bulb shoulders protruding above the soil; planting too deeply can rot the bulb. Water when the soil is dry weekly, and stake with a bamboo skewer when blooms become weighted.
- Poinsettias. If you are anything like myself, then each year on Black Friday when I purchase these potted beauties, my main objective is to keep them alive! To ensure your plants stay vibrant, always display poinsettias away from heat sources or cold drafts; keep the soil consistently moist, but not soggy. When poinsettias end their bloom, cut back all leaves, and allow to remain dormant, watering weekly, and these plants will bloom again come the following fall!
- Ice: When ice forms on tree and shrub branches, don’t try to break it off and instead let the ice melt naturally.
- Vegetable Gardens: Be sure to cover all bare soil in vegetable beds before the new year; affordable, green ways to do so use pine needles or leaf mulch.
- Fruit Trees: Be sure to gather any remaining fruits or nuts on trees or the ground beneath them, composting this debris; this cleaning will help to reduce pests and diseases next year.
Friends, I hope these tips would be of aid to all of my fellow gardeners this month. And if you have tips for keeping winter favorites thriving, I’d love to hear all about them below!