December Gardening Tips for Southern California
Winter is just around the corner. Short days and long nights mean temperatures, especially in our valleys, can dip below freezing. Take the necessary steps to protect plants from frost.
Keep Soil Moist: If you hear of a frost warning in your area, water your garden thoroughly before evening. The moisture from the soil will evaporate and warm the air around your plants.
Cover Your Garden: Plants heat up during the day. Trap this heat by covering plants with light materials such as paper, cloth or tarps prior to dusk. Stake up the frost shield if you are protecting delicate flowers and are worried the plants may be damaged by the weight of the covering. If not, drape the protection directly over the plants. Be sure to remove the covering the following morning to prevent plants from overheating during the day.
Protect Your Potted Plants: Potted plants do not have as deep a root system as plants in the garden. This means they are more susceptible to serious frost damage. Consider moving potted plants indoors or under patio covers on cloudless, cold evenings.
Keep Pesky Weeds From Overrunning Winter Gardens: Often, the first heavy winter rain will cause dormant weeds to grow. To help control weeds during winter months, turn over soil after each rain and cover the area with a layer of mulch. Just as in the year’s growing months, an inch or two of mulch will prevent weeds from sprouting.
Select a Living Christmas Tree That’s Right for Your Yard: Purchasing a living Christmas tree to plant after the holidays can be a wonderful tradition. Select a tree that fits your yard. Popular living Christmas trees are Norway Spruce, Alberta Spruce, Noble Fir and Scotch Pine. Decide on a location in your yard for the tree and then visit your local nursery to select the best Christmas tree for the site. Since the small Christmas tree you purchase for the holidays can grow considerably once planted, take into consideration tree and root growth and proximity to your home.
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