November December Gardening Checklist

The best tree and shrub planting season continues now through mid-March. The sooner you get those trees in the ground the better. Even though the tree may go dormant up top, those plants are still growing long deep roots below ground. This gives your tree a head start on establishing that root system before our het sets in late spring. This not only conserves water, but it also places less stress on your tree and prevents transplant shock making the3se plants more drought resistant next year. Try planting some spring-flowering trees and shrubs such as azaleas, redbuds, and Mexican plums, anacacho orchid tree,  and Texas scarlet flowering quince represent some of the earliest blooming shrubs and trees that mark the arrival of spring after the long winter.

-Don’t forget to plant your spring flowering bulbs such as daffodil, narcissus, amaryllis, species tulips, and Spanish blue bells. Be sure to pick varieties that do well in our central Texas climate so they come back every year for you. We have a great selection right now so come on out and get yours today. They are an inexpensive addition to the landscape that will bring you spring cheer every year.

-If you missed the fall fertilization window then wait until mid-Feb to fertilize. You can apply liquid seaweed to your plants and lawn at any time of the year.

-Now is the perfect time to be pruning dead limbs from trees. The risk of spreading oak wilt is less in the dead of winter but be sure to spray cuts bigger than 2” with pruning sealer on live oaks and red oaks just to be sure.

-Winter is the best time for lawn aeration and compost application. Be sure to use an aerator that takes plugs out of the soil rather than a spike aerator which can actually compact the soil more defeating the purpose of aeration. Apply a ¼” to ½’ layer of compost after aeration to add beneficial microbes to the soil which aids in water conservation.

-Lawns and flower beds need very little irrigation in the winter. Cut back your watering schedule to water only once a week on established trees and flowerbeds or as little as a ½” of irrigation applied every two to three weeks for lawns.

-Mulch around all your plants and trees to protect them. Mother Nature naturally mulches around your plants and trees with leaves that act as a natural blanket.  Place a good 2-3” layer of shredded hardwood mulch, but don’t pile up the mulch at the base of your plants. Pilling the mulch around the base of your plant will lead to stem and bark rot over time. It is especially important for trees. So don’t create a mulch volcano around your plants.

-Plant vegetables and herbs all through the winter. Fall and winter gardens are wonderful and you can be planting transplants of mustard, winter greens, spinach, snow peas, cilantro, dill, fennel, chives, oregano, and thyme. You can also still plant transplants of broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower.  These are all evergreen and will produce all the way through the winter. Be sure to plant these in succession so you don’t have all your vegetables ready at the same time. Seeds of mustard, radish, and spinach can still be planted but you must time it with some warmer sunny winter days for good germination.  Now is the perfect time to be planting strawberries from root stock and artichokes from root crowns.

-Annual flowers such as pansies, snapdragons, violas, kale, cabbage, and cyclamen can be planted now to give you color all winter long. Be sure that you are feeding these heavy feeders with a good quality fertilizer that has nitrate as the nitrogen source rather than urea as the nitrogen source. They will be much happier as the microbes needed to break down the urea nitrogen and make it available to your plants are dormant and sleeping in the winter.