December Northern Garden Checklist

Winter Care:

  • 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.

Holiday Preparation:

  • 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.