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December's Chores


It’s December.  Not much to do here besides keep the leaves off the lawn.      

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t1:place w:st="on">Water Gardens

Close them down for the winter.  If you have fish keep a hole in the ice for oxygen exchange.   Do not feed the fish during the winter.  You can purchase a heater for your pond at your local nursery.


If there is no snow on the ground you can still cut back perennials.  I do this on milder days.  If you do not get


It is easy to still see bittersweet this time of year.  Look for the orange berries hanging in the trees.  Digging the entire plant is best, but cutting it at the base is a least a temporary way to slow the plant.  Discard the seeds if you can so they do not create more plants.

Trees and Shrubs

In colder zones the time for planting is over.  However, in higher zones you can still move many trees and shrubs.  Move bigger trees only after the leaves have fallen.  If you get a heavy snow or ice storm let the branches return to their upright position on their own.  If you clear them yourself you can do more damage.

Broadleaf Evergreens

Plants such as rhododendron and holly can lose much of their moisture during the winter.  By using an anti-desiccant you help minimize winter damage.


Do not cut back hydrangea.  Leave them alone until next spring when you can see how much dieback there was over the winter.


Some roses like to have a mulch of straw (hay can have weeds) leaf mold, pine branches or other loose mulch.  Pile it about 12” high around the base of the rose in mid-December.  Some roses do not need this protection and are ok to leave alone.  Knowing the type of rose and how it has performed in past winters is the best indicator.

Around the house

Shut of the outside water if you are done using it.  Wrap up the hoses and store them.  If you leave them outside they can be damaged by the winter cold.


If you stored bulbs and tubers check them once a month or so.  If you notice that they have rotted discard them.


Clean up tools for the year. I like to put WD-40 on my metal shovels and rakes to protect them.

Indoor Plants

Put plants that like higher humidity like orchids and African violets in humidity trays.  Keep a humidifier filled on each floor of your home.


Check your snow blower.

Do you have a melting agent that is safe for lawns and pets?

How does that snow shovel look?

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