Bright yellow crocus and other early blooming plants will soon announce that spring is on its way. If you do not have crocus in your garden be sure to plant some next Fall.
Planting season continues for dormant trees, shrubs, roses. You may plant some vegetable seeds such as collards and Swiss chard as well as vegetable transplants including cabbage, onions, lettuce, broccoli, Brussels spouts, and strawberries.
Prepare beds for summer annuals.
Fertilize fruit trees, fertilize grape at half rate now and half after fruit sets.
Spray shrubs with fungicide before new growth starts.
Source: Alabama Cooperative Extension System Publication ANR-0047
Try forcing paper whites as a way to enjoy gardening during the winter. December is a great month for armchair gardening. You can enjoy the seed and perennial catalogs and start planning your spring garden.
Fruits and Nuts–Plant young pecan and other deciduous fruit trees and grapes. Select budwood. Start dormant pruning of established fruits. Protect all young trees from rabbit damage by placing wire around the base of the tree. Put on dormant oil sprays for scale.
Shrubs–Planting is still the main activity but delay in case of freezing weather.
Lawns–Control wild garlic, chickweed, poa annua, dandelion, and other weeds. Read label on each can of weed killer used.Roses–add plants to rose garden. Mulch all plantings.
Annuals and Perennials–Plant hardy annual seed without delay. Have you tried violas?
Bulbs–continue spring bulb planting.
Miscellaneous–Shrubs, trees and indoor plants make excellent gifts.
Decorating with fresh greenery from your landscape is easy and a great way to bring the outside in. AND, oh yes, it is basically free! Many evergreens hold up well for a week to 10 days inside your home. If you place the stems in water and place them outside on your porch they will often last weeks during the cool days of our fall and winter.
There are many landscape and forest plants that perform well including pine, cedar, magnolia, juniper, wax myrtle, pittosporum, nandina, Leyland cypress, arborvitae, ivy and holly of all types. If you don’t know which plants perform well and which don’t, experiment with them ahead of your event.
You will need clippers to cut the greenery and a bucket of water to place them in as you cut. You may need to split the hard stems or bash with a hammer to open up the stems so they will absorb more water. You may want to rinse the greenery before letting it sit overnight in a cool place to absorb water.
Many evergreens like pine, cedar and magnolia leaves will hold up for several days without water but putting them in a container with water will prolong their life.
Adding springs of fresh greenery to florist flowers is inexpensive and will transform simple cut flowers into holiday decorations. You may add greenery along your mantle or banister, in the branches of your chandelier, around a holiday decoration and many other places in your home.
Caution: some plants and berries may be toxic to people and pets.
For more information on using fresh greenery check out Holiday Decorating with Fresh Greenery from Clemson Cooperative Extension. This publication has great pictures, more detailed information and even directions to make your own kissing ball.
Plants bulbs this month for spring color. Other gardening tasks for November include planting hardy annuals such as larkspur, poppies, pansies and candytuft. This is also a great time to plant trees, shrubs, vines, and roses. Take a drive and enjoy the glorious fall colors.
Fruits and Nuts–Select sites for plantings. start mulching strawberries, blackberries, and grapes.
Shrubs–Plant shrubs, trees, and vines.
Lawns–Some homeowners like lawn paints. Have you thought about having a green lawn this winter? Use proper herbicide to kill germinating winter weeds.
Roses– Get rose planting underway. Use a soil test as a basis for fertilization. Look for new varieties.
Annuals and Perennials–Plant hardy annuals such as larkspur, poppies, pansies, and candytuft. Get sweet peas into the ground.
Bulbs–Continue spring bulb planting. Put lilies of the valley in a shady place.
Miscellaneous–Plant screen plantings for a privacy on patio.
Vegetable Seed– Plant cabbage and lettuce in a coldframe.
Source: Alabama Cooperative Extension System ANR-0047
Plant pansies, violas and snapdragons in mid-October for fall and winter color. Ornamental kale, parsley, red mustard and Swiss chard are other great choices for containers and flower beds this time of year.
Fruits and Nuts–Planting season for strawberries starts in South Alabama. Clean up orchard areas.
Shrubs–Shrub plantings can be made. Water when needed. Note varieties of camellias in bloom. Mulch shrubs that do not have mulch.
Lawns–Continue to mow lawns until no new growth is noticeable.
Roses–Continue insect and disease control practices.
Annuals and perennials–Visit flower shows and gardens. List desirable varieties of mums. clean up flower beds immediatlely after killing frost.
Bulbs–Plant tulips, hyacinths, daffodils,, crocuses, Dutch irises, anemones, and ranunculuses. Watch planting depth. Dig caladiums; clean and store in warm place.
Miscellaneous–Renew mulch around shrubs and rose beds. Loosen mulches that have packed down. Spray with oils before freezing weather to control insects. Remove all dead stems and trash from flower beds. Transplant into small pots any cuttings taken earlier.
Vegetable Seed–Plant turnips, mustard, kale, rape, spinach, and onion sets.
Source: Alabama Cooperative Extension System ANR-0047
Watch for red Spider Lilies to appear like magic this month. You will see them in yards, along roads, in pastures, at old house places, and in some surprising places. They seem to strive on neglect!
Fruits and Nuts–New catalogs will be arriving soon. Start plans for future selection and planting. Take soil test for new planting areas. Fertilize established strawberry plantings.
Shrubs–Study landscape to determine plant needs. check early varieties of camellias. You may want to replace those damaged in spring by late freezes. After fall growth is completed, spray all shrubs with a fungicide.
Lawns–Plant seed of winter grasses where situation prevents planting permanent grasses. Winter seeds will appear soon. Stop fertilization three weeks before first frost.
Roses–Protect fall crops of blossoms from aphids and thrips. Keep plants health.
Annuals and Perennials–Last chance for planting perennials and biennials. Old clumps of perennials may be divided. Plant peonies.
Bulbs–Spring flowering bulbs may be planted late this month in North Alabama. Delay planting in South Alabama.
Miscellaneous–Clean up infestations of insects on azaleas, camellias, boxwoods, gardenias, hollies, etc. If oil spray is needed, don’t use in freezing weather. Build compost bin or box; leaves will be falling soon. Move houseplants indoors.
Vegetable Seed–Plant hardy vegetables and root crops.
Have you noticed the pink flowers–Naked Ladies–that pop up in gardens everywhere late in July and early August? These are Lycoris squamigera that bloom on two foot tall stems with with foliage that appears later. The hottest days of summer have arrived but there are still chores we can do in our gardens. Just get outside early in the day and keep hydrated.
Fruits and Nuts–Cut out old blackberry canes after fruiting and then fertilize and cultivate for replacement canes. remember to order new catalogs for fruit selection.
Shrubs–Layer branches of hydrangea to propagate.
Lawns–Watch for diseases. Mow regularly. Water as needed.
Roses–Keep roses healthy and actively growing. Hybrid teas and floribundas may need light pruning to prevent scraggly appearance.
Annuals and perennials–Water as needed. Plant perennials and biennials.
Bulbs–Divide old iris plantings and add new ones.
Miscellaneous–Keeping flowers, shrubs, trees, and lawns health is the major task this month. This means close observation for insects and diseases. Water.
Vegetable Seed–Plant turnips, rutabagas, beans, and peas in South Alabama.
Vegetable Plants–Plant cabbage, collards, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and celery.