December Gardening Tips and Tasks

Dear Friends,

December is here and Christmas is closer than we realize. We have had a few snowfalls and temperatures are headed downward except for a few warmer days which will probably continue to pop up here and there.

At the nursery, our bushes and trees are packed away for the winter in overwintering greenhouses, our trees have been mulched and collars placed around the bases so rabbits and voles do not eat the bark off the base of trees when their food supply dwindles. The goat's dwelling has been winterized and they have been fattened up with long coats of hair grown for the future cold.

The greenhouses are loaded with poinsettias of every size and color. Our Christmas wonderland is adorned with artificial trees, ornaments, wreaths, lights, garlands and so much more. A stroll through our store will get you into the Christmas spirit.

In preparation for winter's wrath, here are some things to consider doing. Any type of broadleaf evergreens you have should be sprayed with Wilt Pruf or Wilt Stop. This product puts an invisible coating on leaves and helps them retain moisture on cold windy days. Rhododendrons, azaleas, mountain laurels, Japanese hollies and regular evergreen hollies are a few examples of plants which should be sprayed. This is also great for spraying roping, wreaths and any other evergreen branches you may use to decorate with.

Wrapping these plants with burlap is another option especially if they are located in windy areas. I have also had clients construct temporary fencing with burlap stapled between posts to help with the wind issue as well.

You may also want to consider tying up your arborvitaes with twine to help prevent the breaking or bending of branches from the weight of a heavy snowfall over the winter. If you think back to this May when we received a really wet snow, many arborvitae were damaged from the snow and many clients need to have them replaced or cut down. I would take twine and wrap it around the entire plant starting at the bottom and spiraling to the top of the plant. You want to have it snug but not super tight. Mark on your calendar to remove the twine in spring.

With the impending snowfall(s) coming, make sure your snow shovels are nearby and you have extra fuel for that snow blower ready to go. Lawn mower shops are not too busy over the winter and sending that mower out to get a tune up and blades sharpened will benefit yourself and the shop owner.

Birds will benefit from a filled feeder and suet cakes put out for them to eat. If you do start to feed the birds continue to do so. You will see lots more feathered friends arrive as word gets out.

Your lawn should be cut low to deter snow mold from happening over the next few months. Longer blades of grass left over the winter will lay over and snow mold may form in spots if we have extended periods of snow cover. A short trim before inclement weather will help avoid this.

Gardens should be cleaned of any plant debris left over and trellises or stakes should be stored for winter.

Planning for the next season should be put into motion. Remember to rotate your crops into different areas of the garden. Plan what seeds you will grow and purchase as soon as they are available. With tons of new gardeners growing everything under the sun, labor shortages, supply issues, I would get it while you can and start earlier than normal obtaining products.

Be prepared to pay a lot more for things this next year. Some fertilizers are up 30-40% over this years pricing. Many companies are not accepting any more orders for next season already. Transportation costs, ocean freight, raw materials seem to all be at a ridiculous high price range still. Major supply shortages are being reported. Most companies do not have an idea of when things will be back in stock. We have even heard many growers and retailers are ordering 2 years in advance in hopes they will obtain product. Never have we experienced such weird situations when it comes to business. The new norm is nothing is normal, just deal with it.

In the closing of this article, I would sincerely like to express my deepest sympathy to the families of many of our clientele who have shopped here over the years who have passed due to complications from obtaining covid. We will be saddened to not see their faces in the future and wish the families the strength to move forward. With all these changing variants, the circle of people we know seems to be getting larger and larger who are obtaining this virus. Please be vigilant in washing your hands and wearing masks when near other people. We all are in this fight together. I hope you and your family remain healthy. Thanks again for reading.


J.R. Pandy, The No "B.S." Gardener
Pandy's Garden Center
440-324-4314
www.pandysgardencenter.com

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