This Month in the Garden: December

What Would You like to Learn About Today?

The year is coming to a close, and with that, so has another year of gardening. While for many of us, digging in our garden ended some time ago, the appreciation for it never stopped.

Close up of the ice blanketed fern-like foliage of a Cypress tree

All Zones:

Take the time to plan your spring garden.

Now is a great time to look over your landscape and your flower beds and really think about what plants you loved this year, which ones you didn’t, and which areas need some love. Maybe you want to add more greenery or take charge of a shady spot in your garden? Or maybe you have a difficult area that remains empty or want to add more of your favorite plants to other parts of your landscape? No matter what you want to add or subtract, take time now to mentally plan your garden for spring.

Beyond thinking ahead, here are some things gardeners in all zones can do now in their garden:

  • If you have berry-bearing plants like winterberry holly, now is a great time to harvest a few branches for festive decor.
  • Look after birds! If you’ve cleaned up your garden for winter, be sure to leave some food for our feathered friends for winter. Be on the lookout for migratory birds making your garden home for the season. For more details on preparing your garden for winter with birds and other pollinators in mind, check out our blog post: 4 Simple Ways to Protect Pollinators in Fall.

Zones 3-5:

It may be cold, but there are still things to do.

While snow may be on the ground for most of those gardening in zones 3-5, there are still a few things you can do to do keep your garden in tip-top shape:

  • Protect your perennials! Roses and other perennials often need some extra protection to thrive in winter. Consider adding extra mulch or if your garden is filled with snow, use what you have! Scoop up fallen snow and place it on top of your plants for extra insulation as it offers similar protection.
  • Consider protecting your shrubs and trees from deer and other wildlife. While deer can be a year-round problem, their foraging in your garden can become more apparent in the winter months. Add a layer of burlap, chicken wire, or use a liquid repellent to create a barrier to prevent deer from feasting on your evergreen foliage.

Zones 6-8:

The weather is cooling, but the tasks haven't cooled down yet.

Boiling hot summer days may be behind most of those in zones 6-8, but just because peak season is over doesn’t mean there isn’t work to be done!

Here are a few things you can do in your garden right now:

  • Consider adding mulch to some of your shrubs and perennials that will need added insulation to thrive once the weather starts to cool.
  • If you have a shrub or tree that needs to be planted, it’s not necessarily too late to plant! Add these big plants to your landscape early in the month, while the ground is cool, not frozen. Just be sure to add an extra layer of insulation and water your newly planted plants.

Zones 9-11:

Winter looks a little different for you so there's still plenty to do.

3 things those in zones 9-11 can do in their gardens right now:

  • Be on the lookout for frost! While you may get fewer frosty days than other gardeners, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared for it. Watch out for frost advisories and add an extra layer of insulation to your plants to protect them in cold snaps.
  • Stop fertilizing your plants. If you’re still fertilizing your plants, now would be a great time to put that task on pause as new growth may become damaged during a sudden cold front.
  • If you’re experiencing a dry December, be sure to water your plants adequately to help them get through dry spells.

Written by: Miranda Niemiec, click here to read bio.

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