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December Garden Chores

ASHEVILLE, NC – It’s cold outside, and the last thing you are thinking about is your lawn or garden. There are, however, some chores that need to be done in December.

Lawns:

  • Take a break for a while, as long as the last of the leaves have been raked and the grass has been mowed
    that last time.

Ornamentals:

  • If possible, before bringing a Christmas tree indoors, give it a good shake and even a good cleaning with the garden hose to remove pollen and hitchhiking insects.
  • Keep a living tree indoors no longer than 10 days. Then take it out and plant it in the landscape as soon as possible.
  • To enjoy the poinsettia as long as possible, give it very little direct sunlight, keep it away from heat vents and cold drafts, and water regularly.
  • Keep good pruning practices in mind when cutting holiday greenery. Make clean cuts at branch angles or leaf nodes, and keep an eye on the shape of the plant.
  • Inspect house plants, especially any that spent the summer outdoors. They often carry in small insects such as scale, mealybugs, whiteflies and spider mites.

Fruits:

  • Although you do not want to prune fruit trees until March, it is OK to prune grape vines now.
  • The strawberry bed can be mulched with straw when nights are regularly falling below freezing.

Vegetables:

  • Clean up the asparagus bed. Remove and discard dead ferns and pull weeds.
  • Parsnips, turnips, beets and carrots can still be dug if the soil has not frozen.
  • Monitor greenhouses, cloches and cold frames daily. Temperatures heat up quickly on a sunny day.

Other:

  • Along with the holiday greetings, the garden catalogs will be arriving in the mail. Start flagging your wish list pages for spring orders.

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