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Monthly Horticulture Tips

December Gardening Tips

Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture, Oklahoma State University

David Hillock, Consumer Horticulturist

Tree & Shrub

  • Select a freshly cut Christmas tree. Make a new cut prior to placing in tree stand. Add water daily.
  • Live Christmas trees are a wise investment, as they become permanent additions to the landscape after the holidays.
  • Light prunings of evergreens can be used for holiday decorations. Be careful with sap that can mar surfaces.
Flowers
  • Apply winter mulch to protect rose bush bud unions and other perennials. Wait until after several early freezes or you will give insects a good place to winter.
  • Poinsettias must have at least six hours of bright, indirect light daily. Keep plants away from drafts. (HLA-6413)
  • Watch for and control pests on indoor houseplants. (HLA-6411)
  • Make sure indoor plants are receiving enough light or set up an indoor fluorescent plant light. (HLA-6411)
Fruit & Nut
  • Cover strawberry plants with a mulch about 3-4 inches thick if plants are prone to winter injury. (HLA-6214)
  • Wait to prune fruit trees until late February or March. (HLA-6228)
Lawn & Turf
  • Remove leaves from cool-season grasses or mow with a mulching mower. (HLA-6420)
  • Continue mowing cool-season lawns on a regular basis. (HLA-6420)
  • Continue to control broadleaf weeds in well-established warm- or cool-season lawns with a post-emergent broadleaf weed killer.
General
  • Keep all plants watered during dry conditions even though some may be dormant. Irrigate all plantings at least 24 hours before hard-freezing weather if soil is dry. (HLA-6404)
  • Order gardening supplies for next season.
  • Now is a great time to design and make structural improvements in your garden and landscape. (HLA-6425, HLA-6440, HLA-6441)
  • Send for mail-order catalogs if you are not already on their mailing lists.
  • Christmas gift ideas for the gardener might include tools, garden books or magazine subscriptions.
  • Clean and fill bird feeders.
  • Till garden plots without a cover crop to further expose garden pests to harsh winter conditions.
  • Visit your county extension office to obtain gardening fact sheets for the new gardening season.
  • Join a horticulture, plant or urban forestry society and support community “greening” or “beautification” projects.
  • Review your garden records so you can correct past mistakes. Purchase a new gardening journal or calendar to keep the New Year’s gardening records.