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Monthly Tips

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Fresh Cut Christmas Trees

When selecting your fresh cut Christmas tree, make sure the needles are soft, pliable and fragrant. Run some of the twigs and branches gently through the palm of your hand. Most of the needles should adhere to the twig. If you discover many dry needles dropping from the twig, this is an indication the tree was cut too early in the season or is drying out.

Read our guide to Christmas tree varieties.

Once you select your tree at the nursery, we will put a fresh cut on the bottom of the tree to open it up to drink water. Head straight home and put the tree up and in water within two hours. If you are not putting the tree up within two hours, store the tree in a cool, shady place in a bucket full of water.

A tree will not recover once it has dried out. Fill the stand with water each day since the warm temperature and dry air in the home will cause the tree to absorb water very rapidly.

Fruits and Vegetables

If you have not already done so, put your garden to bed for the winter: Remove all old vines of beans, squash, etc. to the compost pile and then spade or till the garden. Sow winter rye and do not mow it.

 

 

Houseplants

Water less than you would during the summer and stop fertilizing.

Empty water from saucers after an hour.

Most plants with showy flowers and fruits need bright light, so keep them in a bright window or under a grow light.

Avoid drafts, heat ducts and locations where temperatures are likely to fluctuate greatly. If plants are very close to windows, remove them at night to prevent chilling. However, most plants do prefer cooler temperatures during the winter then at other times of the year.

Many people add traditional holiday plants to their home for the Christmas season. Below are some favorites:

  • Poinsettia: showy bracts in white, red and other colors
  • Jerusalem Cherry: long-lasting red orange berries. They are not edible.
  • Christmas Cactus: produce red and lavender flowers.

Trees and Shrubs

Apply a dormant spray on fruit trees, but make sure the temperature is above freezing at the time of application.

Maintain 1-2 inches of mulch to conserve moisture, prevent erosion and protect roots from freezing.

Prepare for winter. Wrap tender plants including figs, gardenias and camellias in burlap or frost cloth to insulate them from the cold.

Water Gardens

When water temperatures fall to 50-60 degrees, reduce feeding of pond fish and begin using a low protein food.

Stop feeding fish when water temperatures drop below 40-50 degrees.

Check your water feature pumps. Larger pumps that move a lot of water will typically keep running throughout the winter without any problem, while smaller pumps will freeze and should be turned off for the winter.

Use a floating pond de-icer to help your fish survive the winter.

Wildlife and Wildlife Management

Keep birdfeeders full as food sources become scarce and weather becomes colder.

Did you know many beneficial insects spend the winter months in the stems and plant debris of your garden? Birds will also be looking for food and shelter, so consider leaving some of the “mess” through winter to provide habitat for insects, wildlife and to shelter your plants from cold, windy weather.

Seasonal Care

Drain hoses and irrigation systems to prevent freeze damage.

Turn over unused containers to prevent water from freezing inside them and damaging the pot.