December Garden Tips

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  • Turn off irrigation system for the Winter including the timer and possibly the mainline!!!
  • Although the current drought is no longer an emergency, water conservation and outdoor water use efficiency is still important.
  • Bare-root fruit and flowering trees and berries are becoming available at nurseries. Order or visit early as popular varieties sell quickly. Follow planting instructions carefully and fully
  • Winter is an excellent time to assess the “bare bones” of your yard, when many trees and plants are leafless and few flowers are blooming. The right evergreen groundcover, shrub or vine can soften the stark contrasts between trees, shrubs and hardscape features like fences and sidewalks
  • Remember to water all the plants (especially any that are frost-tender) you have stored under the eaves and patio covers
  • Organize the tools necessary to prune roses and other dormant plants. Keep them sharp and clean. The product, Physan sterilizes tools without rusting them
  • The California Department of Water Resources’ new Landscape standards requires a 3 in. layer of mulch around plants for new landscapes, but keep 4-6 inches away from plant stems or trunks. Not a bad idea for bare areas of existing landscapes either. Remember to keep a few areas bare to allow ground nesting pollinators a home
  • At this point in the season, remove and dispose of fallen fruit and or fruit still hanging on trees – this will help control overwintering disease and pests
  • Remove fallen leaves from lawn areas to avoid rotting the grass underneath. If you can compost and reuse them next Spring as a basic fertilizer around the base of trees and large shrubs
  • It is best to pick up fallen leaves under rose plants as they often house fungus spores that can re-enter plants in Spring
  • Designing a landscape can take several to many weeks depending upon its complexity so it may be a good idea to begin the planning now in expectation of Spring planting.
  • Inspect susceptible plants (especially winter vegetables) for aphid activity and other insect pests. Treat if population is large enough. Use high pressure spray of water for small populations
  • Plant winter annuals
  • Complete late season cleaning of hardy perennials
  • Put away the lawn mower for the year. Drain fuel or add a stabilizer. Clean and dry unit to prevent rust. Sharpen blade so that it is ready to go in Spring. Please remember to disconnect the spark plug wire before working around any engine
  • Consider beginning winter pruning chores only after all leaves have fallen including roses and fruit trees
  • Consider stretching exercises to loosen up before beginning garden chores in cold weather

Need an idea for an unusual Holiday gift – how about a complete garden clean up