December Delaware Garden Guide

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The December calendar is as follows:

First Week:

  • Collect pine cones, old bird nests, any remaining seed heads, etc. to be used in making wreaths and other holiday decorations.
  • Spray seed heads and dried flowers with hair spray to keep them intact.
  • Clean and sanitize (mixture of bleach and water can be used) emptied seed flats before storing so that they will be ready when needed in the early spring.
  • The holidays are just about three weeks away and there is still time to make herbal presents like herb vinegars and/or potpourri.
  • Visit your local Christmas tree farm; make your tree selection early and tag it.
  • Change the oil and do routine maintenance on your outdoor power equipment, such as rotary tillers and lawn mowers that use oil in their engines.  Remember to recycle this used oil.

Second Week:

  •  Order your 2002 seed catalogs.
  • Check stored dahlia tubers and gladiolus corms; if sprouting, move to a cooler location. If they appear to be shriveling, rewrap them using a ventilated plastic bag.  If there are signs of molding, change their environment; this is usually a result of moisture conditions.
  • After the ground freezes thoroughly, mulch azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias. These acid-loving plants prefer acid-loving materials like oak leaves or pine needles.  If you do not have either of these, any mixture of dried leaves will do.
  • Scout your landscape for the small, buff or yellowish velvet gypsy moth egg cases attached to trees, stones, walls, logs and other outdoor objects, including outdoor household articles.  Pick off and destroy them.
  • Remember, if you are going to feed birds this winter, once you start, try not to stop until winter is over.  Birds need feed, water and cover (discarded Christmas trees are great for providing bird shelter).

Third Week:

  • Help prevent fires by placing Christmas trees away from heater vents, fireplaces, television sets and anything else that can cause the needles to dry out.  In addition, be sure to keep your tree watered the entire time it is in your home.
  • Make evergreen arrangements with branches that have been trimmed from Christmas trees.
  • Prune fruit trees anytime this winter.  Keep in mind, it is easier on the tree if the temperature is 45o   and above.

Last Week:

  • Check around trunks of trees and bases of large shrubs for rodent damage.
  • Fertilize peach and apple trees anytime after the leaves drop and before spring growth.
  • Give special attention to water, light and feeding requirements of house plants.
  • Don’t throw away your holiday tree yet; it has several good uses.  The branches can be placed over spring flowering bulb beds and/or perennial flower beds to help prevent heaving damage caused by the ground freezing and thawing, and, as mentioned above, placed outside next to a bird feeder,  provides shelter for birds.
  • If you are suffering from the end-of-the-year blahs, why not buy yourself a new house plant.  Because of the light, water and feeding requirements, determine where it is going to be placed before you buy.


January Garden Guide>>