Normal people spend most of December focusing on the holidays. But we gardeners never claimed to be normal, so here are a few things you’ll want to accomplish in this first weekend of the last month.

Living Christmas tree. Ask your local independent retail garden center operator to show you only types that are perfectly adapted to your part of Texas. A lot of plants that aren’t at all suited get sold for that purpose this time of the year. Choose wisely.
Pansies, violas, pinks, ornamental cabbage and kale, snapdragons, and other winter annual color. Plant in well-draining beds prepared with several inches of organic matter. These plants also do very well in large patio pots.
Daffodils, jonquils, narcissus, and grape hyacinth bulbs. You may want to leave tulips and Dutch hyacinths chilling in the refrigerator for another 10 or 15 days before planting into the garden. They must have a minimum of 45 days at 45 degrees to simulate the winter cold of their native homes.

Continued Below

Shrubs to correct erratic growth but save major reshaping for later in the winter.
Lawn to remove fallen leaves. Bag them and use them as mulch or in the compost pile. Do not send them to the landfill.

Pansies, violas, pinks, and other winter color plants with water-soluble, high-nitrogen food each time that you water them.
Ryegrass with high-nitrogen lawn food. Apply at half the rate recommended for turf. Water into the soil deeply.
Compost pile with one cup of ammonium sulfate per cubic yard of compost each time that you turn and blend it (approximately monthly).

Continued Below

Cut pieces of frost cloth and have them labeled and stored for use as needed during extreme winter cold spells.
Broadleafed weeds in turf, including dandelions, clover, henbit and chickweed. Apply herbicide containing 2,4-D soon, before temperatures start to drop dramatically. Read and follow label directions carefully.
Mistletoe should be removed from tree branches as soon as you see it, preferably while it is still young.
Aphids congregating on tender new growth can be knocked off with hard stream of water.
Remove rose bushes (roots and all) that are infested with rose rosette virus. See story this issue.

Posted by Neil Sperry
Back To Top