Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Lower South

December, 2008
Regional Report

Keep Christmas Tree Fresh and Safe

A little extra attention early on will help keep your tree fresh and attractive through the month of December. Cut an inch off the base when you get it home. Quickly put the base in water and check the basin daily for the first week, as it will use lots of water early on. After a week or so check the water every few days to prevent it from drying out. Check electric cords and lights for bare wires and keep candles or other flames away from the tree.

Rake Fallen Leaves Off the Lawn

Our southern turfgrasses continue to absorb the sun's rays during the winter months. Fallen leaves shade the turf, instead of allowing it a chance to replenish its carbohydrate reserves. Winter shading can cause partial dieback of the turf if leaves are left for weeks on end.

Don't Wait to Plant Trees and Shrubs

Late fall through late winter is the best time to plant trees and shrubs. Roots will continue to grow in our cool winter soils. Early planting results in a well-established plant that's better prepared for the stresses of next summer. Firm the soil in around the roots and water the roots well at planting.

Collect and Store Pecans to Maintain Quality

If you're fortunate enough to have pecan trees, collect the nuts promptly, shell them, and store the kernels in containers in the freezer. This will assure good quality for up to a year. Warm conditions and exposure to air will cause pecans to turn rancid rather rapidly.

Reduce Fertilizer for Indoor Plants

The low light and cooler temperatures of winter mean your houseplants will need less nutrition to do well. Unless plants are in a very well lighted atrium or very bright window, you can probably cut back fertilizing by half. Also watch soil moisture, as it is easy to overwater during the winter months.


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