Gardening This Weekend: December 15, 2016

Here are the mid- to late-December gardening responsibilities. Scan through the list to see if any applies to your landscape or garden.


• All spring-flowering bulbs as soon as you can.
• Cold-hardy annuals. Pansies and pinks rate at the top, as do ornamental cabbage and kale. Snapdragons come next, then for the southern half of the state, stocks, cyclamen, wallflowers, sweet alyssum and Iceland poppies.


• Remove all frozen stems and foliage from perennials and annuals.
• Mistletoe from tree branches as it becomes obvious. Leaving it in place will let it grow much larger very quickly.
• Shrubs to do light shaping. It’s probably still best to save major reshaping for another three or four weeks. (Never top crape myrtles. I’ll explain why in a later issue.)
• Mow lawn to remove fallen leaves and as needed to trim winter weeds and keep them in check.


• Apply water-soluble, high-phosphate root-stimulator plant food to help newly transplanted trees and shrubs get established.
• Houseplants once per month with diluted liquid plant food.


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• If you applied frost cloth as protection from last week’s cold, leave it in place if you think there is any chance of additional cold damage. If you used a true “frost cloth” manufactured for the purpose, it can remain over your plants for weeks without damage.
• Houseplants for scale insects and mealy bugs. It’s usually easiest to eliminate them with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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