Garden Calendar Series – Dec/Jan/Feb

Published by Heather Fesmire in Bucks Country GardensLawn & GardenPlants

Garden Calendar Winter

Having a Garden Calendar is a must! Even if the cold is nipping at your heels, there are always garden “to-dos.” It is time to prune, tend to indoor plants, care for our feathered friends, shovel snow, and plan our gardens for the spring. We put together a calendar of some of the most common garden “to do’s” for December, January, and February, to keep you organized and on track!

December

Frost sits upon delicate leaves, the garden is just about done being packed away, and we are finishing up winter prep because winter officially starts December 21! Make sure you have prepped everything because it is crucial to growth in the spring.

Care/Pruning:

  • Cover bare soil with straw, needles, mulch, or organic matter to protect it.
  • Get remaining bulbs in the ground if the ground has not frozen yet.
  • Drain your garden hoses around Christmas. Store them away to avoid freeze damage.
  • Clean, sharpen, and store your garden tools so they are ready when spring comes back around. Also, make sure to oil any moving parts. Get a head start on any missing tools or supplies by adding these to your holiday wish list!
  • Apply Wilt Stop on a warm day (above 40 degrees) this is effective for protecting your plants from sunscald, windburn, winterkill, and salt damage. We also have burlap and shrub jackets to wrap around tender trees.
  • Avoid storing pesticides where they will freeze. Some materials cannot withstand cold temperatures and will become ineffective.

Wilt Stop

Wilt Stop protects your plants from the harsh winter elements.

Holiday Tree Care:

Now’s the time to buy Christmas trees! We have fresh cut Frasier Fir trees from 5’ to 12’ tall. Pick out the perfect tree for your home today.

  • After purchasing, give the bottom of the trunk a fresh cut at our store or on your own. A one-inch cut is best to aid in absorbing water.
  • If the tree is not going inside right away, place trunk in a bucket of water.
  • Once inside, place tree in a stand system with water.
  • Monitor water every couple of days to make sure your tree stays lively and fresh throughout the month of December.
  • Add Prolong Tree Preservative to your water basin to preserve your tree.
  • Keep tree away from vents and draft areas so it won’t dry out.
  • Have a tree removal bag handy for easy disposal and so needles don’t get all over your floor. An eco-friendly option is to cut off the branches and place them around the bases of your rose bushes or over perennials as winter mulch!

Birds:

Now is the most important time to take care of your feathered friends. Winter brings harsh winds, chilly temperatures, and natural food sources become sparse. We can help keep our backyard birds fed and sheltered through the winter.

  • Use deicers and heaters for birdbaths to keep fresh water for them.
  • Make sure there is adequate food in the feeders. Place at different heights and locations, so there are multiple opportunities for food. Late afternoon feeding is best because it is before they seek shelter and settle for the evening. Sprinkle some on the ground to make ground-feeding birds happy.
  • Hang up birdhouses and clean out existing shelters.

Frozen Birdbath

Don’t let your feather friends get frozen!

Pest Control:

Deer are creatures of habit and will browse familiar territories. If they munched on your garden this summer, they will be sure to come back!

  • Check gardens for damage frequently throughout the month.
  • Use Liquid Fence to deter deer from areas of damage. Apply weekly at first and then monthly.
  • Deer Scram also works well for protecting against deer. This granular deterrent is applied around the perimeter of your trees and shrubs or around the property as a whole. It keeps deer away from your garden and works under soft snow cover (not ice)!

Houseplants:

  • All of your indoor houseplants should be inside by now.
  • Monitor houseplants for insects. We have a variety of pharmacy solutions, if needed. For guidance with insect concerns, bring in a sample in a sealed plastic bag and/or visit our Garden Center Pharmacy.
  • Make sure plants are in the correct growing condition (sunlight and position) according to the size and type of plant.
  • Do not fertilize while houseplant is indoors for the winter.
  • Water lightly because growth is slow. Mist high foliage plants with water.
  • Avoid placing plants near vents or drafts.
  • Rotate houseplants so they get ample amount of sun.
  • Stake Amaryllis and Paperwhite Bulbs to support tall flower stems.
  • Poinsettias like their soil moist, but not soggy!
  • Cyclamen thrive in cool temperatures (50-60 degrees).

Planning:

  • Make a note of any missing tools or supplies you will need for the next growing season as you are storing your tools for winter (if you haven’t bought them already!).
  • Keep an eye on what winter interest you have out in your garden. Note what you like and what you would like to add so this coming spring you can plant what you want to add.

Looking for something to do?

A Longwood Christmas. Now thru January 7, 2018.

January

Ice, ice, baby! It is definitely wintertime. Snow, cold winds, and frost are in the forecast. Protect your plants from the harsh elements, tend to indoor plants, and shovel snow! Also, don’t forget your feathered friends. They are out in the elements and need food.

Care/Pruning:

  • Apply Wilt Stop for the second time on a warm day (above 40 degrees). The application in these months is most effective for protecting your plants from sunscald, windburn, winterkill, and salt damage. We also have burlap and cloth to wrap around tender trees.
  • Clear snow from shrubs (especially evergreens) and around house foundations. Make sure to lightly sweep off the snow with a broom and gently shovel around shrubs that are close to the house. If it is a heavy snow, leave it. You could damage branches by removing it. That goes the same for heavy ice. Branches are susceptible to breaking due to how brittle they are.
  • This time of year is most ideal for pruning large deciduous trees because the tree frame is most visible and the ground is dry and solid. Cutting into live tissue during the winter will help prevent spread of diseases. Removing dead branches in the winter will allow for good wound closure when spring arrives. Prune large deciduous trees that have lost their leaves, such as oaks, maples, and pears. Also prune summer flowering shrubs, such as abelia, paniculata hydrangeas (these grow in full sun), and butterfly bushes, junipers, and yews (needle leafed shrubs).

Winter Pruning

Winter is the best time to prune your large trees and summer flowering shrubs.

Pest Control:

Just like December, deer will be out feasting on your garden.

  • If you have applied Liquid Fence, apply it again this month.
  • Sprinkle more Deer Scram if new areas of damage pop up. Deer scram works under snow!

House Plants:

Follow the same tips as December. It is colder, so keep track heating vents as to not dry out your houseplants.

Birds:

  • Continue to check on your birdfeeders and make sure they haven’t clogged.
  • Make sure birdbath heaters are running properly.

Looking for something to do?

  • A Longwood Christmas. Now thru January 7, 2018.
  • Jan 21, Squirrel Appreciation Day.

February

It may be cold, but that doesn’t mean you can’t think warm thoughts! Winter is a great time to plan out your garden for the spring. So heat up some hot cocoa and saddle up to the fire, let’s start planning!

Care/Pruning:

  • Apply Wilt Stop for the third time on a warm day (above 40 degrees). The application in these months is most effective for protecting your plants from sunscald, windburn, winterkill, and salt damage. We also have burlap and cloth to wrap around tender trees.
  • Continue to clear snow from shrubs. Follow the same tips as January.
  • Follow the same pruning as January with your large deciduous trees, summer flowering shrubs, and needle leafed shrubs.
  • Start seeds inside, so they are ready for planting come spring.
  • As the snow starts to melt, watch for cool season weeds. Other weeds may have survived beneath the snow cover. Use weed prevention products, such as Preen to kill germinating weed seeds.

Garden Calendar Winter - Boots

Time to play in the snow and sweep off snow from shrubs.

Pest Control:

Just like December and January, deer will be out feasting on your garden.

  • If you have applied Liquid Fence, apply it again this month.
  • Sprinkle more Deer Scram if new areas of damage pop up. Deer scram works under snow!

House Plants:

The same tips should be followed as December and January. If plants aren’t getting enough sun, plant lights are a great solution. Set a timer to give your plants specific amounts of UV rays.

Planning:

  • Create a journal with a wish list of what plants you would like to get in the spring.
  • Plan your veggie garden for the coming year, keeping in mind the need to rotate crops from year to year. What worked well? What struggled? Also, keep track of the varieties of plants you want to grow.
  • Check out our Pinterest for inspiration and ideas!
  • Come to the Garden Center and stock up on seeds and any seed starting supplies so you can start planting early.

Looking for something to do?

Buy tickets online early for the 2018 Philadelphia Flower Show! The show is March 3-11, 2018.

Garden Calendar Winter - Flower

Time to admire the snow and start planning your spring garden!

Bucks Country Gardens is fully stocked with wonderful garden products. Stay in the loop with our weekly features and promotions!

Stay tuned for our next “Garden Calendar Series: March/April/May.”

For more information:

You can also use the following links for more in-depth info and handy graphs to help plan for the spring season:

Written by:

 Heather Fesmire | Digital Marketing Assistant
David Jones | Horticulturist, Customer Service Specialist, & ISA Certified Arborist
Nancy McIlvaine | Garden Supplies & Service
Material from Penn State Extension “Gardening Prep during the Cold Winter Months” and Better Homes & Gardens “Tips for the Northeast.”