Gardening in December

December Gardening

You can still plant in December. Plants are going dormant and they don’t mind being planted in this phase. Transplanting is also permitted, though I would avoid moving larger plant material, particularly evergreens. As long as the ground is not frozen, plants can be tucked into it for the winter. You can still plant bulbs for that matter, and they are on sale now that it is the end of the season.

Avoid pruning at this stage in the game if possible. Cutting plants while they are going dormant gives them a mixed signal since pruning stimulates growth, while trees and shrubs are in the process of slowing down. Perennials on the other hand may be cut back to the ground , and hydrangeas and grasses may also be cut back if that is your desire.

“Wilt pruf” your evergreens if possible. Wilt pruf is the brand name of a particular anti-desiccant.  Evergreens stop absorbing moisture as they shut down, however, they continue to lose moisture to the wind throughout the winter. If you have particularly exposed evergreens, or specimen plants you would like to protect, this is the ideal time to spray them (while temperatures are above forty degrees Fahrenheit).

Take the last of your leaves and start a leaf compost pile in an unused corner. Leaf compost is very high in beneficial fungal content and once composted  can be spread around trees and shrubs, or can be used to make compost tea with in the spring, both excellent ways to increase beneficial microbial and fungal activity in your soil.

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