Taking an environmentally sensitive approach to pest management


Missouri Environment & Garden



AUTHOR

Donna Aufdenberg
University of Missouri Extension
(573) 243-3581
aufdenbergd@missouri.edu

Kate Kammler
University of Missouri Extension
(573) 883-3548
kammlerk@missouri.edu

Kathi Mecham
University of Missouri Extension
(660) 542-1792
mechamk@missouri.edu

December Gardening Tips

Donna Aufdenberg
University of Missouri Extension
(573) 243-3581
aufdenbergd@missouri.edu

Kate Kammler
University of Missouri Extension
(573) 883-3548
kammlerk@missouri.edu

Kathi Mecham
University of Missouri Extension
(660) 542-1792
mechamk@missouri.edu

Published: November 22, 2021



  • Finish planting spring flowering bulbs that did not get planted last month! They can be planted until the ground freezes.
  • Be sure the root zones of azaleas and rhododendrons are thoroughly mulched. Organic material from oak leaves, shredded oak bark, or pine needles are preferred.
  • Prune hollies now. Trimmings may be used in holiday decorations and last longer during the holidays if kept at cooler temperatures.
  • Check stored summer bulbs, dahlia tuberous roots and gladiolus corms regularly. If they start to shrivel, they are too dry. Place them in a container with potting soil, peat moss, or sawdust to stop the loss of water. If they are sprouting, place them in a cooler spot. Moldy or damaged roots must be removed and discarded. Molding indicates over-moist conditions.
  • Mulch perennial borders after ground freezes to a depth of 2 to 3 inches.
  • Keep an eye out for vole and mole damage in flower beds. For control measures, see MU Guide g9445 Controlling Voles in Horticulture Plantings and Orchards in Missouri https://extensiondata.missouri.edu/pub/pdf/agguides/wildlife/g09445.pdf and g9440 Controlling Nuisance Moles https://extensiondata.missouri.edu/pub/pdf/agguides/wildlife/g09440.pdf.
  • To avoid harming near-dormant plants during the winter, do not fertilize, and reduce watering until growth resumes in the spring.
  • Protect hybrid roses from winter damage. See MU Guide g6601 Roses: Care After Planting https://extensiondata.missouri.edu/pub/pdf/agguides/hort/g06601.pdf.

  • On cold nights, monitor the temperature around windows. Some tropical plants can be damaged by temperatures below 40 degrees F.
  • Avoid placing plants near heat vents. Warm air blowing on leaves can cause them to turn brown and drop from the plant. For more information, see MU Extension Guide g6510 Caring for Houseplants https://extensiondata.missouri.edu/pub/pdf/agguides/hort/g06510.pdf.
  • Geraniums can be overwintered. They like bright light and cool temperatures. Keep soils on the dry side.
  • Water houseplants with room temperature water. Cold tap water may shock plants.
  • Phalaenopsis orchids and holiday cactus benefit from cooler temperatures next to a window or in a cool room to trigger flowering.

  • Save cylinders from holiday wrapping paper for making biodegradable cutworm collars in the spring. Cut cylinders into 3-inch tubes to fit over transplants.
  • Reflect on last season's vegetable garden and start thinking about what you would like to change for next year. Make sure to write it down. Consider using a garden journal. See guide From Seed to Harvest and Beyond: Garden Journal and Calendar https://extension2.missouri.edu/mp928
  • Consider constructing a low tunnel, cold frame or hot bed to grow salad greens during the cold months to extend the growing season. See MU Guide G6965 Building and Using Hotbeds and Cold Frames https://extensiondata.missouri.edu/pub/pdf/agguides/hort/g06965.pdf.
  • Store leftover vegetable and flower seed in cool, dry storage. The refrigerator is good. Do not store in the freezer—some seed varieties will not survive!
  • Check vegetables in storage for spoilage.
  • Clean up any left-over dead plant debris in the garden.

  • Wrap the trunks of fruit trees with chicken wire or hardware cloth to prevent rabbit damage.
  • Mulch strawberries with a layer of straw to prevent winter damage to the crowns and prevent soil heaving. Straw should be sifted loosely over the plants, just enough to cover them from view. After the straw settles, check to see if more straw is needed.
  • Pecans continue to fall after periods of wind.
  • Prevent frost cracking or sunscald on trunks by wrapping trunks with tree wrap. Many fruit trees are especially susceptible.
  • Store leftover garden chemicals where they will stay dry, unfrozen, and out of reach of children and pets.

  • Do filling and grading around the yard. The loose soil will settle during the cold months.
  • Seed catalogs start to arrive. If you are longing for spring, start making wish lists and orders. Otherwise, put them all together for a time when you are dreaming of spring!


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REVISED: November 19, 2021