December Southern Garden Checklist

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.

Winter Care:

  • Continue to water new plantings and evergreens as needed.
  • Install wind, and sun screens. Burlap, landscape fabrics or other barriers can protect new plantings and sensitive plants from winter damage.
  • Purchase lily-of-the-valley pips (underground shoots) from garden centers, catalogs or on-line sources to plant and force indoors for fragrant blooms.

Winter Clean-up:

  • Gather and save left over seeds. Place in an airtight container and store in a consistently cool place like the refrigerator.
  • Gather liquid fertilizers and pesticides from sheds and unheated garages. Inventory and store these and other pesticides in a secure location away from pets and children. Keep liquids out of direct sun and in a frost-free location. Move granules to a secure dry space for storage.