December Garden Tips
Cornell Cooperative Extension
If you purchase a balled and burlapped Christmas tree, keep it as cool as possible, don't allow it to stay in the house any more than a few days. For more information, see our fact sheet on this topic.
Ask Santa for some new gardening tools.
Think about giving gardening gifts – a book, like Michael Dirr's Manual of Woody Landscape Plants.
When buying poinsettias, inspect carefully for white flies and/or eggs. Do not buy infected plants. For more information, see our fact sheet on this topic.
Monitor your arborvitaes and junipers for bagworms. Remove by hand. For more information, see our fact sheet on this topic.
Now is a good time to take hardwood cuttings of many shrubs and deciduous trees. Bury in sand in a cold frame or outdoors and plant in early spring.
Cover tender perennials with a loose mulch.
Turn the soil in the vegetable garden just before a hard frost is expected. This breaks the hibernation pattern of soil-wintering insects and reduces next year's pests.
This is a good time to add compost and lime to your vegetable garden.
Put a humidifier in the room with your houseplants. Winter heat is very drying. You'll breathe easier too. Give houseplants as much light as possible and wash houseplants with large leaves to remove dust and grime.
December is the best time to start mulching plants for the cold weather ahead (once the soil begins to develop a frozen crust on the surface).
Mistletoe is poisonous. Don't hang it where berries or plant parts can fall within reach of children or pets.
Avoid using de-icing salts near lawns, shrubs and flowerbeds. Use fertilizer instead, or even kitty litter.
Order seed catalogs.
Keep your live Christmas tree watered well. For more information, see our fact sheet on this topic.
Think about taking a class at an arboretum or botanical garden.
Give houseplants as much light as possible. For more information, see our fact sheet on this topic.
Start Easter lilies to flower in April.
Plan next season's garden. Use graph paper and a pencil, or a computer program. They're easier to use than a shovel!
Get active in your garden club. You will make life-long friends and gain much knowledge.