By | 29 January 2023

With the arrival of winter in the Southeast, we all experience cooler temperatures, but they vary according to our southern location. Here’s a rundown of what to expect at December parks in the area.

Regional To-Do List for December

Some states give up on gardening for a month, others for two or three. In other areas, like Florida, they continue to plant and harvest only by switching to cool season crops. North Carolina, where I live, has about 175 days between the first and last frost dates. It can be shortened during this mild winter.

Watch your local forecasts and check the almanac for your region for your planting window for that month. Plantings can include cool-season herbs and vegetables, such as the following:

  • Parsley

  • Dill

  • Garlic

  • Cayenne Pepper

  • Spinach

  • Lettuce Leaf

  • Carrot

  • Beetroot

  • Rightly Guided

  • English Peas

  • Broccoli

  • Cabbage

Check your USDA hardiness zone to make sure your plants are suitable for your conditions from planting to harvest. Plant cool-season annuals for color in areas not likely to freeze. You can also plant deciduous fruit trees and nuts in some areas this month. Prune fruit trees already planted and use insect inert oils if necessary.

If you use wood heat in your fireplace or cook on a wood stove, us some of that ash to improve the pH of your lawn and garden soil. If it’s less than 6.0, ash can help raise it. The ideal soil pH is 6.0 to 6.9 pH. If you are not sure about your soil reading, have a soil test done through your local extension service or purchase a test kit from a garden center.

Other Chores for December in the Southeast

Fertilize houseplants that you haven’t fertilized recently, watering them first if you’re using a liquid fertilizer.

Continue raking foliage from the yard, chopping it up to plant in garden beds or using it whole. Leaves can sometimes be used as mulch.

Take cuttings from blueberry bushes for indoor holiday decorating. Use holly, nandina, pyracantha, and Washington hawthorn if they are growing in your landscape and have red berries.

Power amaryllis and other bulbs to winter blooms.

Lawn care in December in the Southeast varies depending on the type of lawn you have. Your lawn may be brown and waiting for spring to come again. If you’re planting winter grass, keep mowing, fertilizing, and weeding. Water the wintergrass as needed. Dig up winter herbs. Do a soil test to determine if you need to apply lime to your lawn.

Cut down a Christmas tree or get one that you can plant later in your landscaping.

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