Living Christmas trees: If you plan to have a living tree in the house for the holidays, use an anti-transpirant such as Wilt Stop to reduce needle drop from stress. Provide adequate water at all times and return to the outdoors after the holiday along with camellias and azaleas received as gifts.
General: Listen to weather reports for expected freezes. These usually occur when the sky is clear. Protect as described with frost protective sheeting, gathering small container plants together and/or using Wilt Stop. This is a great time to clean your tools to sharpen, prevent rust and splintering.
Lawns: Apply monthly applications of Master Nursery winter formulated fertilizer. If your lawn has mossy areas, apply moss control monthly.
Vegetables: This is the last month to plant winter veggies as transplants. December is a good month to plant perennial fruits and vegetables such as cane fruits, asparagus, artichokes, strawberries and rhubarb.
Landscape: Plant cool season or winter annuals such as ornamental cabbages and kale, pansies, stock, primroses and calendulas. Fertilize evergreen shrubs with low nitrogen fertilizers to encourage large blooms in the spring. In December, begin pruning roses and leafless shrubs. Do NOT prune the spring blooming plants such as lilac, forsythia, quince, flowering cherry, dogwoods, weigela, mockorange, kerria, deutzia or most viburnums; otherwise, you will be removing the flower buds.
Fruits: Immediately following leaf drop, apply dormant oil sprays to prevent leaf curl, shot hole fungus and other issues. While oils with sulfur are fine for most fruit trees, use a copper spray for apricots. In December, begin pruning fruit trees.
Houseplants: As houses are heated, they become drier. Watch for spider mites and other pests. Many plants will appreciate a misting or occasional shower. Since this is the season of giving, if you receive a houseplant as a gift, remove the foil wrapping to check its roots and inspect for pests. If you replace the wrapping, be sure to provide drainage by making holes in the wrapping and placing a saucer underneath.