When buying poinsettias, inspect carefully for white flies and/or eggs.
Image by Scott Bauer.

When buying poinsettias, inspect carefully for white flies and/or eggs.

December

If you purchase a balled and burlapped Christmas tree, keep it as cool as possible, don't allow it to stay in the house any more than a few days. For more information, see our fact sheet on this topic.


Ask Santa for some new gardening tools.


Give a gift subscription to Long Island Gardening magazine to a gardening friend.


Think about giving gardening gifts – a book, perhaps. There's Irene Virag's book, Gardening on Long Island, or Michael Dirr's Manual of Woody Landscape Plants.


When buying poinsettias, inspect carefully for white flies and/or eggs. Do not buy infected plants. For more information, see our fact sheet on this topic.


Monitor your arborvitaes and junipers for bagworms. Remove by hand. For more information, see our fact sheet on this topic.


Now is a good time to take hardwood cuttings of many shrubs and deciduous trees. Bury in sand in a cold frame or outdoors and plant in early spring.


Cover tender perennials with a loose mulch.


Turn the soil in the vegetable garden just before a hard frost is expected. This breaks the hibernation pattern of soil-wintering insects and reduces next year's pests.


This is a good time to add compost and lime to your vegetable garden.


Put a humidifier in the room with your houseplants. Winter heat is very drying. You'll breathe easier too. Give houseplants as much light as possible and wash houseplants with large leaves to remove dust and grime.


December is the best time to start mulching plants for the cold weather ahead (once the soil begins to develop a frozen crust on the surface).


Mistletoe is poisonous. Don't hang it where berries or plant parts can fall within reach of children or pets.


Avoid using deicing salts near lawns, shrubs and flowerbeds. Use fertilizer instead, or even kitty litter.


Order seed catalogs.


Keep your live Christmas tree well watered. For more information, see our fact sheet on this topic.


Think about taking a class at an arboretum, botanical garden, or SUNY at Farmingdale.


Give houseplants as much light as possible. For more information, see our fact sheet on this topic.


Start Easter lilies to flower in April.


Plan next season's garden. Use graph paper and a pencil, or one of those computer programs. They're easier to use than a shovel!


Join a local garden club or become a member of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County. You will make life long friends and gain much knowledge.

Last updated December 9, 2016