Wednesday, September 30, 2009

December Garden Calendar

By Thomas Fryd

In Northern United States and Canada

In many parts of the North it is not necessary, nor even desirable, to place Winter covering over plants until the latter part of December. Most surely don't do this until the ground has frozen permanently to a depth of a few inches. Have on hand the materials you will need as coverings. Branches of discarded Christmas trees serve well for this work. They are particularly useful for covering low evergreen perennials. You may be able to obtain unsold trees from dealers immediately after the holiday.

You may prune Grapes now, unless you live in an extremely cold area. This is a good time, too, to attend to renovation pruning of old neglected and overgrown deciduous shrubs. This task can be continued, whenever the weather makes the work possible, until Spring. When Poinsettias are in full bloom drop the night temperature of the greenhouse to 55 degrees to harden them off and keep them in good condition for Christmas. Make sure that Christmas gift plants used in the house are kept well watered and are not subjected to drafts nor placed near radiators or other sources of dry heat.

In the South

Now is the time to plant Roses in the lower South, also deciduous fruit and ornamental trees and shrubs and vines. Evergreens may also be planted. Indeed, this is the best month to plant Camellias. Be sure to keep newly-planted evergreens well watered if rains do not supply needed moisture. Attend to dormant spraying of Flowering Almond, Plums and Cherries as well as other items that need this treatment.

Keep lawns of Rye Grass mowed fairly closely. This is especially important if the Rye Grass was oversewn on top of a permanent grass such as Bermuda Grass. Lift Chrysanthemums needed for stock and plant them in sandy soil in a coldframe located in a well-drained location. Chrysanthemums left outdoors often die in Winter.

Plant Tulips. In the warmer parts of the South it is essential that the bulbs be refrigerated for several weeks before planting. If you have not precooled your own, buy only those that have been subjected to this treatment by the dealer.

Hardwood cuttings of deciduous shrubs, such as Privet, Forsythia, Crape Myrtle, Currants, Weigelia and Flowering Almond may be made now and planted in a sheltered border to root. In the warmer parts of the South annuals may be sown now.

On the West Coast

As soon as fruit trees have dropped their leaves you may prune them. This a good time too to prune overgrown deciduous shrubs and to prune those kinds that flower in Summer. Regular pruning of early Spring-blooming shrubs should be done immediately after flowering.

Make and set out hardwood cuttings of shrubs and care for bromeliads. Plant deciduous trees, bromeliad plants and shrubs. In most areas evergreens also can now be planted. Transplant Roses this month or next. Plant only when the soil is in a reasonably dry and crumbly condition, not when it is wet and sticky. Dormant spraying may receive attention as soon as the leaves have fallen from fruit trees and other kinds that need this attention.

In mild sections set out plants of Canterbury Bells, Columbines, Carnations, Foxgloves, Forget-me-nots, Snapdragons, Stocks, Cinerarias and Primulas.

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