December

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Men laying new hardwood flooring

Garden maintenance

Indoor plants need care, too. Avoid drafts and vented areas where warm, dry air will directly contact them. Provide ample sunlight and water. When watering, take the plant to the sink, water well, allow excess water to drain and then place it in a saucer to prevent damage to floors or furniture.

Bring nature indoors when decorating for the holidays. Cut branches from hollies, nandina, magnolias and evergreens to embellish your living spaces.

Keep your poinsettia and other gift plants beautiful. Dont let them dry out; if theyre wrapped in decorative foil, punch holes in the foil wrapping to prevent them from becoming waterlogged. Poinsettias like a bright, sunny location spot. Other holiday plants prefer cooler locations inside the house.

If we dont get our usual fall/winter rainfall, continue to water all newly planted trees and shrubs, as well as flowering annuals.

If you didnt apply a pre-emergent weed killer to your lawn last September, chickweed and henbit could be sprouting in your lawn. Use a post-emergent weed killer that is labeled for your particular turf to reduce weeds in your yard.

With fewer chores around the yard, start a compost pile with shredded leaves, grass clippings and small twigs. Add coffee grounds and tealeaves, cooled fireplace ashes, newspaper, pizza boxes and other recyclable paper goods. To prevent rodents, do not place any food in the compost pile.

Still havent planted those daffodil and tulip bulbs? Its not too late better to plant them now then wait until next winter.

Get the rake out one more time and remove those last fallen leaves from the lawn. Rake diseased leaves from under shrubs, trees and roses and throw them away so disease and insects wont find safe harbor during the winter months.

Spread several inches of composted cow manure, shredded leaves or compost around perennials, shrubs and trees to enrich the soil. This is called topdressing.

What do you do with a Christmas tree once the holiday is past? Recycle it! Many sponsoring organizations will reward you with a seedling tree to plant when you bring your Christmas tree to be recycled.

This month is still an excellent time to plant and transplant trees and shrubs. When transplanting, be sure to preserve as much of the root ball as possible. When replanting, set the plant at the same depth as it grew before.

Till and prepare planting beds when the soil is relatively dry. You can then add soil amendments and mulch, and youll be a step ahead for spring planting.Your cold-weather annuals will be happy if you feed them with nitrate nitrogen fertilizer, and remove their dead blooms. This will encourage additional flowering.

What to plant

Paperwhite narcissus is an easily forced bulb that will reward you with beautiful flowers indoors throughout the winter. Just plant some in a pot and within a few weeks, youll have fragrant white blooms.

Its too late to reseed, but fescue sod can be installed successfully now through March. Wait until late spring to sod or seed all warm-season grasses.

Information provided by Mary Kay Woodworth, Master Gardener Coordinator for Dekalb County Extension. Send her your gardening
questions at: [email protected]

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