Gardening This Weekend: December 16, 2021
Here are your mid-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. Soils are cool enough now to plant tulips and Dutch hyacinths. Finish planting them by the end of this month.
• 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.
• Transplant trees and shrubs that need to be relocated once they are totally dormant.
• Mow lawn to remove fallen leaves and as needed to trim winter weeds and keep them in check.
• Mistletoe from tree branches as soon as you see it. Leaving it in place for more than one year will allow it to grow much larger very quickly.
• Remove all browned stems and foliage from perennials and annuals to tidy up garden beds for the winter.
• Shrubs to do light shaping. It’s still best to save major reshaping for another three or four weeks.
• Never top crape myrtles. I’ll explain why in a later issue, but I just wanted to get the warning out there in front of you.
• Houseplants once per month with diluted liquid plant food. You’re merely trying to sustain them, not to encourage vigorous new growth during the dark days of winter.
• Apply water-soluble, high-phosphate root-stimulator plant food to help newly transplanted trees and shrubs get established.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Get the longest possible color out of your poinsettia by keeping it out of hot drafts and by never letting it wilt. When the soil just begins to feel dry to the touch water the plant deeply, then wait until it begins to dry slightly before watering it again.
• Houseplants for scale insects and mealy bugs. These are difficult to eliminate. It’s usually easiest to address them with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Even then you’ll have to stay after them.
• If you get a several-day warm spell (60F-plus) without rain you can apply a broadleafed weedkiller to control non-grassy weeds such as young seedlings of clover, dandelions, henbit, chickweed and others. It will soon become too cool to control these for a month or two, especially in the northern half of the state.