Gardening Guide

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Monthly Gardening Tips (Conventional & Organic) – December

This is a Great Time to Plant!

PLANT:

  • Trees, shrubs, ornamental grasses, etc. now so they can get well established by next summer’s heat.
  • Annuals & Perennials –Pansies, violas, ornamental cabbage/kale, cyclamen, snapdragons, salvias, skullcap, Heuchera (coral bells), and more. Dig, divide & replant spring blooming perennials.
  • Spring-flowering bulbs including daffodils and narcissus can be planted now. Tulips & hyacinths that have been refrigerated for at least 45 days at 45º can be planted after mid-December.
  • Fruit and pecan trees, grapes and berries.

PRUNE:

  • Peach & Plum trees to 8-9 ft. by removing vertical shoots. Grapevines by 80-85% of canes.
  • Perennials by removing dead foliage. Mulch over those that die back to the ground for added protection.
  • Shrubs as needed to reshape and remove dead branches—save major pruning for late winter.
  • Trees as needed to remove mistletoe, dead or damaged limbs, and unwanted roots—limit removal to 1 or 2 significant roots each year. Good time to prune oak trees to avoid Oak Wilt problems.

WATER:

  • Potted plants & flower beds as needed; shrubs & trees less often in cool weather, but deeply to produce hardier, better rooted plants. Water before forecasted frosts or freezing temperatures to reduce damage to plants and trees.
  • To improve water retention in your plantings, add Soil Moist & Expanded Shale (holds 38% of its weight in water). Or use Covington’s Soil Builder which contains compost, greensand, and expanded shale, and also breaks up clay, adds nutrients, & revitalizes microbial activity.
  • Top dress landscape & flower beds with a 2-3 inch layer of mulch to help retain moisture, reduce weeds & maintain soil temperature. Keep frost cloth on hand to cover & protect tender plants from freezing weather.
  • Trees installed for less than two years must have special care to ensure a strong and healthy root system. See our Plant Article on Tree Care for the First Two Years for details.

CONVENTIONAL FERTILIZATION, PLUS WEED, DISEASE & PEST CONTROL SOLUTIONS

FERTILIZE:

  • Pansies & other annuals w/Covington’s Premium Flower & Garden Fertilizer or Hi-Yield Blood & Bone Meal.
  • Newly planted trees and shrubs every 3-4 weeks for the first year with Ferti-lome Root Stimulator.
  • Feed house plants with Ferti-lome 20-20-20 Water Soluble Plant Food.
  • Existing ryegrass and fescue with high nitrogen Covington’s Premium Lawn Fertilizer 21-7-14.

WEEDS & DISEASE CONTROL:

  • Spot treat broadleaf weeds such as dandelion, henbit & clover in St. Augustine or Bermuda with Ferti-lome Weed Free Zone (effective to 40º).
  • Keep fallen leaves off your lawn—they compact and trap moisture which can lead to turf diseases. Apply Bonide Infuse to St. Augustine for fungal infections including Gray Leaf Spot and Brown Patch.
  • Use Ferti-lome Systemic Fungicide for powdery mildew, disease & fungi on hawthorne, photinias, roses, etc.

INSECT & PEST CONTROL:

  • Control aphids, spider mites, mealy bugs, thrips, and other problem insects with Bonide Systemic Insecticide.
  • Control fungus gnats in house plants with Hi-Yield Systemic Insect Granules.
  • For best control of scale use Hi-Yield Dormant Oil Spray.
  • To control fire ant mounds/infestations, use Hi-Yield Fire Ant Control.
  • Use eco-friendly Armadillo Repellant in a convenient hose end sprayer to get rid of armadillos.

ORGANIC FERTILIZATION, PLUS WEED, DISEASE & PEST CONTROL SOLUTIONS

 FERTILIZE:

  • Newly planted trees and shrubs with Liquid Fish & Seaweed to help prevent transplant shock, increase beneficial microorganisms, and encourage root development.
  • Flowers, perennials and roses with Happy Frog Acid Loving Fertilizer.
  • Turf, shrubs & trees with Good Natured Texas 2-Step Fertilizer.
  • Vegetable gardens with Happy Frog Tomato & Vegetable Fertilizer.

WEEDS & DISEASE CONTROL:

  • Spot treat grassy and broadleaf weeds with 20% Vinegar. Add 2 oz. of Orange Oil per gallon of vinegar to enhance the kill on weeds and grasses.
  • Use Horticultural Corn Meal on landscape plants, vegetables, and turf for disease control.

INSECT & PEST CONTROL:

  • Use Ferti-lome Come and Get It Spinosad Bait for protection from fire ants. To treat individual fire ant mounds, use 3 to 4 ounces of Orange Oil per gallon of water as a drench. Spray Orange Oil in areas infested with pillbugs, sow bugs, ants and spiders.
  • For cabbage loopers on cole crops, use Natural Guard B.T. at dusk or Spinosad.
  • Spray Bonide All Season Oil for scale on hollies, crape myrtles & fruit trees.
  • Control slugs & snails with Bonide Slug Magic or Sluggo Plus w/Spinosad.
  • Use Diatomaceous Earth for crawling insects.
  • Use eco-friendly Armadillo Repellant in a convenient hose end sprayer to get rid of armadillos.
  • Use Mosquito Bits Granules containing BTI for fungus gnats in houseplants.
  • To deter pesky flower and plant-munching rabbits, use Rabbit Scram and/or Bonide Repels-All spray.

 

This is a great time to plant!

Our nursery experts are available 7 days a week to provide assistance

with your plant needs so you can be successful in your garden and landscape.

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Call our Landscape Services Team at (972) 475-5888 Ext. 119

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Lawn, Tree, and Shrub Fertilization

Weed, Disease and Insect Control