December is the
ideal month to take time off from gardening and enjoy the holidays, but for
those who love to garden regardless of the season, there is still plenty to do.
Turn Off Automatic Sprinklers: Most cities ban watering for 48 hours
after a rain but you can usually wait longer to begin watering again. Rain usually
saturates the soil much better than sprinklers. Turn off automatic sprinklers
and let the weather be your watering guide or install a soil moisture sensor so
sprinklers only turn on when needed.
Fill in Lawn Bare Spots: Add grass seeds to bare spots in your lawn. Place
a topper mix over the seeds to protect them from birds and to help germination.
Winter rains, if they come, will give the seeds the water they need to grow. Be
aware, however, if drought conditions continue, you will need to water the
seeds to stimulate growth.
Prune Weak Tree Limbs: Winter often brings strong winds that
can snap tree limbs. Examine trees for weakened limbs or limbs that could cause
damage to property if they fall. Remove the limbs now.
Get To The Bottom of Leaf Curl on Fruit
Trees: Citrus leaf curl could be caused by a number
of issues: insects such as aphids, too much watering (or not enough watering)
and nutrient deficiencies. Take a sample of the curled leaves to a
knowledgeable garden nursery for a diagnosis and suggested remedy so your trees
are healthy by spring.
Plant Dormant Deciduous Fruit Trees: Late December is the time to plant
young dormant deciduous fruit trees. They are available at good prices because
they often come without soil (bare root). Deciduous fruit trees need cold
nights (below 45 degrees) to encourage buds to bloom and bear fruit. Some trees
need more chilly nights than others. Fruit trees that do particularly well in
southern California's more temperate climate include apple varieties, apricot,
blueberry, sweet cherries, figs and varieties of nectarine and peach.
Add Indoor Color With Plants: December means entertaining during the
holidays. Add festive indoor color with seasonal plants such as poinsettias and
blooming chrysanthemums, lilies, antherium, begonias, cyclamen and African Violet. These
plants don’t mind low light. Keep them away from heaters and fireplaces.
Start A Compost Pile: Create your own compost pile. Add equal
parts carbon and nitrogen: leaves and shrub and tree prunings (carbon) and
grass clippings, flowers, coffee grounds and fruit and vegetable scraps
(nitrogen). Pick a well-draining, 3' x 3' location. Start with a layer of
leaves, followed by green materials and food waste, a layer of soil and then more
leaves and wooden materials. Every few weeks, turn over your pile so it is well
aerated and doesn't overheat. Consider putting a tarp over the compost pile
when it rains. It will keep the pile from getting soggy and will hold in
heat--necessary for microbes to decompose the material. You will have fresh
compost for your garden by spring.
Get A Jump On Weeds:
One rainstorm can trigger weed growth. Keep weeds under control by
placing a layer of mulch in flower and vegetable beds.
Labels: deciduous fruit trees, Southern California, start a compost pile, what to plant in December