Monthly Horticulture Tips 

Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service
Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
Oklahoma State University

 

Tips for December

Download full tips pdf here.

By David Hillock

Lawn & Turf

  • Remove leaves from cool-season grasses or mow with a mulching mower. (HLA-6420)
  • Continue mowing cool-season lawns on a regular basis. (HLA-6420)
  • Continue to control broadleaf weeds in well-established warm- or cool-season lawns with a post-emergent broadleaf weed killer.

Tree & Shrubs

  • Select a freshly cut Christmas tree. Make a new cut prior to placing in tree stand. Add water daily.
  • Live Christmas trees are a wise investment, as they become permanent additions to the landscape after the holidays.
  • Light prunings of evergreens can be used for holiday decorations. Be careful with sap that can mar surfaces.

Flowers

  • Apply winter mulch to protect rose bush bud unions and other perennials. Wait until after several early freezes or you will give insects a good place to winter.
  • Poinsettias must have at least six hours of bright, indirect light daily. Keep plants away from drafts.

Fruits & Nuts

  • Cover strawberry plants with a mulch about 3 to 4 inches thick if plants are prone to winter injury.
  • Wait to prune fruit trees until late February or March.

General

  • Keep all plants watered during dry conditions even though some may be dormant.
  • Irrigate all plantings at least 24 hours before hard-freezing weather if soil is dry. (HLA-6404)
  • Order gardening supplies for next season.
  • Now is a great time to design and make structural improvements in your garden and landscape.
  • Send for mail-order catalogs if you are not already on their mailing lists.
  • Christmas gift ideas for the gardener might include tools, garden books, magazine subscriptions, or membership to The Botanic Garden at OSU (http://www.osubotanicalgarden.okstate.edu/).
  • Clean and fill bird feeders.
  • Make sure indoor plants are receiving enough light, or set up an indoor fluorescent plant light.
  • Till garden plots without a cover crop to further expose garden pests to harsh winter conditions.
  • Visit your county extension office to obtain gardening fact sheets for the new gardening season.
  • Join a horticulture, plant, or urban forestry society and support community “greening” or “beautification” projects.
  • Review your garden records so you can correct past mistakes. Purchase a new gardening journal or calendar to keep the New Year’s gardening records.

Garden Tips for January

  • If precipitation has been deficient (1” of snow = ~ 1/10” of water), water lawns, trees, and shrubs, especially broadleaf and narrowleaf evergreens. Double check moisture in protected or raised planters.
  • Check on supplies of pesticides. Secure a copy of current recommendations and post them in a convenient place. Dilution and quantity tables are also useful.
  • If you did not treat young pines for tip borers in November, do so before March.
  • Check that gardening tools and equipment are in good repair—sharpen, paint, and repair mowers, edgers, sprayers, and dusters.
  • Inspect your irrigation system and replace worn or broken parts.
  • Control overwintering insects on deciduous trees or shrubs with dormant oil sprays applied when the temperature is above 40°F in late fall and winter. Do not use “dormant” oils on evergreens. (EPP-7306)
  • A product containing glyphosate plus a postemergent broadleaf herbicide can be used on dormant bermudagrass in January or February when temperatures are above 50°F for winter weed control.

For more tips, download the pdf here.