Gardening This Weekend: December 23, 2021

Let’s boil this list down to the most critical issues for the next few days. Here they are.

Tulips and Dutch hyacinths as soon as possible. Wait more than another week and they may not bloom at their normal time in spring.
Living Christmas trees as soon as possible after Christmas. The longer they’re indoors the less likely they are to establish and grow well outside. At least get it out onto the patio and water it deeply. But don’t leave it sitting out there more than a couple of days before you plant it. Nothing good happens to a plant while it sits in a pot out on the driveway as it’s waiting to be planted.

Mistletoe out of trees for use in last minute decorating (preferably outdoors, but at least not over carpeting). The berries don’t hold on the twigs very long, plus they’re really sticky (as in “messy”). They’re also a bit toxic, so be careful where you use them to decorate.

Feed pansies and other winter annuals with high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food every couple of weeks to keep them growing.
No need to feed poinsettias or any other holiday flowers. The fertilizers growers used will sustain them through the next several weeks.

Continued Below

Don’t let poinsettia, azaleas and other holiday flowers dry to the point of wilting. That greatly shortens their bloom life and results in severe leaf drop.
Have frost cloth pre-cut and ready to put in place over tender plants when cold blows in.
Check automatic sprinkler system to be sure the freeze sensor is functioning, also that all heads are aligned away from walks, steps and drives. Adjust controllers to run during the morning during winter since evaporation is not a concern like it is in warm months. Best of all, have a “smart” controller installed so that it can handle much of the decision-making for you.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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