December Garden Checklist

Consider using a live Christmas tree that can be planted in the landscape or used as a potted specimen. Junipers and pines are excellent for this purpose.
Continue to plant shade trees, fruit trees, and evergreen shrubs.
Plant ‘balled & burlap’ trees and shrubs while they are dormant.
If you want to plant flowering spring bulbs, now is the time to do so. Plant pre-chilled tulip and hyacinth bulbs (late December/early January). Plant daffodil and grape hyacinth immediately after purchase.
Now is the time to order and select roses needed for January or February delivery.
Use good pruning practices as you select greenery for decorations. If gathering needle evergreens and hollies for wreaths and table decorations, prune selectively and carefully to preserve appearance of shrubs.
Do not rush to prune woody plants. Late December through February is usually the best time to prune. Do major re-shaping of shade trees, if needed, during this period of winter dormancy.
Re-shape evergreen shrubs if needed. Prune evergreen trees such as live oaks to minimize possible ice damage if needed.
Plant Care
Switch sprinkler systems to ‘Manual’ mode for the balance of winter.
Water live Christmas trees and holiday plants such as poinsettias as needed.
Water thoroughly before a hard freeze to reduce plants’ chances of damage.
Water lawn and all other plants once every three weeks or so.
Continue to mulch leaves from the lawn. Shred excess leaves and add to planting beds or compost pile. Replenish finished compost and mulch in planting beds.
Apply complete cover of mulch to root crops to prevent freezing injury of crowns of carrots, beets, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas and radishes.
Do not let soil dry out around crowns of root crops.
Protect tender plants from hard freezes.
Check houseplants for insect pests.
Provide food and water to the area’s wintering birds.
Be sure to clean, sharpen and repair all your garden and lawn tools. Now is also the best time to clean and have your power mower, edger and trimmer serviced. Be sure the mower blade is sharpened and balanced as well.