Gardening This Weekend: December 19, 2019

Here are a few timely tasks if you have a few moments.

Bulbs including tulips and Dutch hyacinths that you’ve had cooling in the refrigerator for at least 45 days to simulate their winter needs. They need to be in the ground prior to January 1 in order to have time to develop their roots and to bloom properly and on time.
Cold-hardy color, including pansies, pinks and ornamental cabbage and kale.

Mistletoe from tree branches if you’d like to use it for last-minute decorating. Be forewarned: the berries start dropping fairly quickly and they’re very sticky. If you don’t need it for decorating, you can wait to prune it until after Christmas, but birds will soon be feeding on the berries, spreading it all over the neighborhood. Don’t put pruning off too long. See related story this issue.
Other plants that can be pruned now if you have a few loose hours: evergreen shrubs, summer-flowering shrubs and vines (but don’t “top” your crape myrtles, please!), peach and plum trees and grape vines.

I’ve thought long and hard, and I can’t think of any plant that needs to be fed this week. They can wait!

Continued Below

Have frost cloth bought and at the ready in case of a spell of bad winter weather.
If you’re transporting a poinsettia or Christmas cactus in sub-freezing weather have your car running and warmed. Cover the plant with a sheet of newspaper and scurry to the car. Just 30 seconds of exposure to the cold can burn or kill these tender plants.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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