December Northern Garden Checklist
- Mulch borderline hardy perennials and bulbs after the ground freezes with evergreen boughs or straw. If your gardens are blanketed with snow, nature did the job for you.
- Check on container plants stored in an unheated garage. Water thoroughly whenever the soil is thawed and dry.
- Reduce deicing salt damage by using plant-friendly deicing compounds and by shoveling before applying the deicing material. You’ll use less produce and eliminate salt-laden snow from ending up on your lawn and garden plants.
- Monitor and secure fencing and animal barriers and throughout the winter. Winter winds may dislodge and snow may bury your wildlife barriers.
- Check for freshness when purchasing a holiday tree. Run your hand along the stem. The needles should be pliable yet firmly attached to the branch. If not, it’s time to move to the next tree.
- Drape, don’t wrap, holiday lights over tree and shrub branches. Loosely secure the lights to the stems or use lighted netting. Remove lights in spring to avoid damaging fast growing trees and shrubs.
- Purchase and plant amaryllis, paperwhites, and pre-cooled hyacinth bulbs for holiday bloom.
- Spruce up your houseplants for the holidays. Add colorful ribbons, ornaments, berry-laden branches or cut flowers stuck in a florist’s water tube sunk into the soil.
- Wrap holiday plants in paper or plastic sleeves when transporting them from the garden center or florist to your home or from your home to a friend’s house. Warm the car first and never leave the plants sit in a cold car.