December Gardening Tasks in the Piedmont
Perennials, Annuals & Bulbs
- Bare-root season begins late this month
- Plant cane berries, grapes and roots of perennials, such as artichoke, asparagus, rhubarb, astilbe and peony, now.
- Continue fall cleanup
- Cut back chrysanthemum to about 6 inches
- Remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials
- Clean-up flower and vegetable beds
- Compost or recycle at the curb, to curtail future plant diseases and insect damage.
- Plant spring flowering bulbs, trees and shrubs
- Continue to monitor water levels, especially for newly planted evergreen trees and shrubs
Trees, Shrubs & Groundcovers
- Take hardwood cuttings from deciduous trees and shrubs
- Dip cut stems in rooting hormone powder
- Plant in equal parts sand and vermiculite
- Keep moist
- Mulch azalea, rhododendron, camellia and laurel after the ground freezes
- They prefer acidic materials, oak leaves and pine needles
- Any mixed, dry leaves will do if oak and pine are not available.
- Keep weeds and make lawns free of debris, especially if recently seeded
- Start pruning dormant fruit trees and shrubs.
- Protect tender sub-tropical trees and shrubs from frost
- Cover plants in late afternoon with cloth, burlap or large cardboard boxes
- Prop up cover with stakes so it doesn't touch foliage
- Mid-month: Tree banding for cankerworm prevention should be completed at this time since the wingless moths begin to emerge later this month and into January.
- Potted plants you receive during the holiday season
- They're not meant to be kept as permanent house plants (they were likely raised in a greenhouse)
- Treat them like long-lasting cut flowers -- enjoy them as long as possible, but discard when they become unattractive
- Flowering poinsettia
- Keep it moist and in full sunlight in a cool area
- Protect it from being chilled or subjected to drafts
- Christmas cactus
- If buds drop and stems shrivel, look for root injury caused by dry soil.
- Live and cut Christmas trees
- They need water while they are inside
- Keep live trees indoors for a minimum of time to keep them healthy.
- Fall planted greens, such as lettuce, mesclun mix, kale, mustard, arugula, mache, and spinach, love the cooler temperatures will produce this fall, throughout the winter, and even into the spring.
- Enjoy your cool season veggie garden and see our handy garden planner for Fall/Winter beds
- Get a hop on your Spring veggie bed planning. Seed catalogs begin arriving soon.
A good time to catch-up and plan for next year
- These rainy or snowy days are a good time to observe the bones of your garden and begin to plan for next year.
- Try coating your snow shovel with a non-stick cooking spray; the snow slides right off; recoat as needed.
- You still have time to make herb vinegars from chives, shallot, garlic or any herbs on your windowsill
- Use approximately 4 ounces fresh herbs to 1 quart wine vinegar
- Allow the herbs to infuse for at least 2 weeks.
Mecklenburg Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteers