• Let The Weather Be Your Guide When Gardening in December
    Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at

  • Cool weather in December means less plant growth in Southern California, however, keep an eye on the weather and be ready to take action to keep winter gardens looking beautiful, say experts at Agromin, an Oxnard-based manufacturer of earth-friendly soil products made from organic material collected from more than 50 Southern California communities.

    Pay Attention to the Weather: December typically brings some rain and cold nights, but the month could also produce hot winds that can dry out flowerbeds and vegetable gardens in as little as a day. When hot weather hits, make sure your plants are well watered. Water by hand to conserve water. There is no need to water garden areas that are dormant in winter.

    Avoiding Serious Frost Damage: If you hear of a frost warning in your area, water your garden thoroughly before evening. The moisture from the soil will evaporate and warm the air around your plants. Rain keeps the soil, roots and plants from freezing. It's during cloudless nights that a freeze is most likely to occur. Mulch also keeps soil and roots warmer than the air temperature. If a freeze occurs and damages a portion of a tree, resist the temptation to remove the damaged leaves and limbs. Although the tree will not look its best, the damaged areas actually protect the rest of the tree from further harm from frost. In most cases, you'll see the tree bounce back nicely in spring.

    Buy a Living Christmas Tree: Purchasing a living Christmas tree is a tradition in many households. Once purchased, wait until Christmas week to bring the tree indoors where it can stay for one to two weeks. Any longer and it will begin to drop its needles. Before making the purchase, decide where you want to plant the tree after the holidays. Pine trees, with their large root system, large branches and pine needle and cone droppings, can wreak havoc to a small backyard. Check with your local nursery for the best Christmas tree for your location. If you don't buy a living Christmas tree, make sure your tree is recycled into mulch--either by putting it out at curbside for collection or dropping it off at a green recycler.

    Clean Up Debris, Use Leaves As Mulch: Collect fallen leaves and small branches and compost them for mulch. Cover the compost pile with plastic or a tarp to hold in heat and keep rain from washing out nutrients. Use fallen leaves as quick mulch in flowerbeds to keep mud from splashing on small plants during rain and to hold in moisture.

    Protect Outdoor Potted Plants: Your potted plants can remain outdoors even on cold nights. Place container plants next to south or west-facing walls so they will absorb reflected daytime heat and stay shielded from wind. Move cacti, succulents and potted trees under patio covers for protection from cold and rain.

    Add Seed to Your Lawn: If you have bare spots in your lawn, scatter seeds to add thickness. If the weather is warm and dry, you'll need to water the lawn so the seeds can grow.

                For more gardening tips, go to http://www.agromin.com.

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