This Month in Your Garden – December 2022

Coastal Region- Brad Fowler

  • Late December is a good time to plant many spring flowering bulbs.
  • In certain situations, it may be beneficial to use a selective postemergence herbicide to help control Annual bluegrass (Poa annua), a common cool-season grassy weed. Always apply chemicals according to the instructions on the label.
  • Depending on the temperature and rainfall amounts, warm-season turfgrasses may benefit from being watered during the winter. However, be sure to only water when needed, as excessive moisture may cause issues.
  • Keep an eye out for plants blooming during the winter, such as Camellias, and consider incorporating them into the landscape for year-round interest.
  • Continue harvesting cool-season vegetables such as collards, kale, and mustard greens.
  • Cold damage to some plants may occur this time of year, and at times plants may appear dead, but wait to do any corrective pruning until the damage can be fully assessed.
  • Camellia blooming and providing winter interest.
    Camellia blooming and providing winter interest. Brad Fowler, ©2022, Clemson Extension

Midlands Region- Carmen Ketron

  • Decide what to do with all your leaves. There is a myriad of ways to repurpose your fallen leaves. Choose a method that will improve the landscape in the long run, such as mulching, chicken bedding, or composting.
  • Plant spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, crocus, Iris, anemones, ranunculus, and hyacinths. If any of these are on your planting list, take the proper steps for a gorgeous bloom next year.
  • Clean and organize garden tools. Take time to “clean, sharpen, and oil” your tools for next year. Tool preparation is vital for devices you may use for a random winter storm, such as chainsaws, pole saws, and blowers.
  • Many will bring real trees and live greenery into the house for holiday decorations. Please read up on choosing a stellar live tree, how to keep it fresh through the holidays, and ways to repurpose it at the end of the month. Alternatively, consider planting a living holiday tree on your property for years of enjoyment.
  • Plant trees and shrubs to allow for good establishment and root development over winter. Brush up on the correct tree planting technique to set up trees and shrubs for success.
  • Live holiday tree cut on site at peak of freshness.
    Live holiday tree cut on site at peak of freshness. Carmen Ketron, ©2022, Clemson Extension

Upstate Region- Millie Davenport

  • National Arbor Day is celebrated in April, but in South Carolina, we celebrate our state Arbor Day in December. Planting a tree in December allows it to concentrate its energy on root development before the new leaves emerge in spring. To celebrate, plant a tree with your family. Consider adding a tree species that will attract pollinators. Be sure to follow best planting practices, leaving the root flare at the soil surface.
  • As you enjoy your hot chocolate next to the fireplace and admire the Christmas tree, take time to plan the spring vegetable garden. Seed catalogs have started arriving in the mailbox (inbox), and I don’t know about you, but I always enjoy seeing the new varieties. Review your records from previous years regarding crop rotation and crop performance, along with how many plants realistically fit into your space and schedule.
  • Keep the lawn clear of leaves and maintain the proper mowing height of 3 inches for fescue lawns, remembering to only remove a maximum of a third of the leaf blade at a time. Only irrigate if rainfall fails to provide 1 inch of water per week.
  • When picking out a Christmas tree, be sure to find the freshest one possible. Start by avoiding a stressed/wilted-looking tree. Give the tree a gentle shake; if a few brown needles fall off, you are good to go, but if green needles fall off, it is a sign that the tree is dry. Lastly, run your hand across the branches. The needles should be flexible, not brittle. Follow these tips to enjoy your tree over the holiday season safely.
  • Create a beautiful wreath with Southern Magnolia leaves to display on your door.
  • The wreath is now ready to hang on your door to welcome your holiday visitors.
    The wreath is now ready to hang on your door to welcome your holiday visitors. Millie Davenport, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at or 1-888-656-9988.

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