Plant Answers  >  Gardening Calendar: November/December

Gardening Calendar

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER

Plant: November and December are the ideal months to plant trees and shrubs. Fall is the ideal time to move trees and shrubs as well. Planting now gives the plant time to establish its root system before the shoot growth develops in the spring. Also, usually little supplemental watering is required through the winter. Look around at the fall color and see which plants you would like to add to your landscape. Make certain your final choices are from the list of recommended trees and shrubs for this area found at:

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/plantanswers/publications/southcnt.html

It is also an ideal time to prepare planting areas for spring planting. Temperate weather means that there is still time to plant or continue planting some of the cool-season vegetable crops depending on where you live. If you are south of San Antonio, beets, carrots, mustard, parsley, radishes and turnips can be safely seeded in November. Seeding in Region III is risky and should be limited to carrots, mustard, radish and turnips.
Exact timing can be derived from recommended planting dates (See the fall direct seeding chart at:
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/PLANTanswers/fallgarden/falldirect.html

November and December are the ideal months to plant for winter color. Pansies, dianthus, violas, snapdragons, flowering cabbage, flowering kale, stock, larkspur, delphinium, petunias, phlox, calendula , Shasta daisies, snapdragons, stocks and violas are recommended cool-season bedding plants for this area. They all prefer well-prepared and drained soil and sunny locations. Many of South Central Texas' finest wildflowers can be seeded now and bluebonnets can be transplanted. Direct-seed the Firecracker 234 Annual Mix or the Butterfly/Hummingbird Mix as listed at the bottom of
http://www.plantanswers.com/wildflower_planting_fall.htm

follow planting instructions provided. Continue dividing and planting perennials which bloom in the spring. Complete planting of spring-flowering bulbs such as tulips, hyacinths and daffodils in December. Sodding Floratam St. Augustinegrass or bermudagrass can be risky this late in the season and can be damaged by severe cold. Zoysia sod such as JaMur can still be planted. There is still time to establish fescue in those heavily-haded areas. For a temporary grass cover to hold the soil over winter, try annual rye. Use 8 to 10 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet.

Prune: Wait until December or January to do any major fruit tree pruning. Prune back leggy perennial plants. Fall-blooming perennials such as lantana and salvia can be cut back as soon as freezing temperatures have obviously frozen their top growth. Cut them back severely - to the ground. Over-plant the cut-back perennial area with winter annuals such as pansies, Johnny-jump-ups and dianthus (pinks), larkspur or bluebonnets rather than looking at the barren bed all winter. The lantana will come back next spring in May to provide beauty during the hottest part of the summer. This is the ideal pruning time for many trees and shrubs. If you have oak trees in need of pruning, begin now. It is especially critical in areas where the oak wilt fungus is a problem. Apply horticultural tree wound dressing on all oak cuts. Prune out dead, damaged or diseased wood from trees and shrubs. Avoid topping or dehorning.

Fertilize: If you have procrastinated the application of the most important lawn fertilization of the year - the application of a "Winterizer" fertilizer to condition the grass for winter survival - do it before December. The fertilizers to use are the ones which have "Winterizer" on the bags and are complete (contains all three elements -- nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) analysis with 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratios.

On the lookout: Watch for pillbugs (sowbugs, rollie-pollies) eating seedlings and young transplants of flowering annuals such as bluebonnets, pansies, etc. Control with a barrier of an insecticide such as Sevin (carbaryl) or diazinon or by using baits until the plants are older and tougher. Scale and other hard-to-kill insect pests may be overwintering on your trees or shrubs. Pecan and fruit trees, euonymus, camellias and holly are favorite hosts. Spray with dormant oil, following label directions on the container to avoid plant damage. Protect any winter annuals from the oil spray.

ODD JOBS: Do not allow heavy accumulations of leaves to pile up on the lawn area. If they get wet and pack together, the grass can be damaged. It is best to rake leaves or pick them up with a mower and bagger and place them in a compost pile or spread them over the garden area and work them into the soil. Add additional fertilizer to assist in decomposition.

ENJOY: The pecan crop is fairly large across the state this year and quality nuts are now available. The major suppliers of pecans in this area are Pape's Pecan House in Sequin and Bragg Pecans in Hondo (www.texaspecans.com). The most important factors for the proper storage of pecans include adequate drying, proper packaging and refrigeration. Homeowners should store pecans in a polyethylene bag, either in-shell or shelled, and place them in the refrigerator or the deep freeze. At room temperature the shelf life is 4 months in the shell and 3 months shelled. In the refrigerator, the pecans will hold good quality for 18 months in the shell or 12 months shelled. Shelled pecans can be held in the deep freeze near 0 degrees F. for over 2 years with very little adverse affect on the kernel quality and indefinitely in the shell. For the best pecan recipes in Texas, see:
/Recipes/pecanrecipes/recindex.html

and

http://www.texaspecans.com/htdocs/recipes/recipe_parent.htm

My Thanksgiving and Christmas present to you is the BEST PECAN PIE RECIPE ON EARTH at:

/Recipes/pecanrecipes/devinepie.html

November Calendar by Dr. Tom Harris

Color

*It's winter-annual time. Select from pansies, spring bulbs, flowering kale, Dianthus, calendula, viola, Johnny jump-ups, alyssum, and snapdragons. If you use tulips and hyacinth bulbs, make sure they have 4-6 weeks of chill in the refrigerator.

*Be ready to move the bougainvilleas, hibiscus, Plumeria, purple fountain grass, citrus, Mandevilla and other tender plants into the greenhouse or garage at the first cold weather. Plan for ventilation as it gets pretty warn in San Antonio in November.

*Fall asters are spectacular. Plant them now for a good show next fall.
*Get Texas Gold columbines in the ground to make a good groundcover under deciduous trees.

*Plant your wildflower seeds this month.

*If you plan to plant roses next January or February, prepare beds now with composted manure or pine bark mixed with existing soil.

Fruits and Nuts

*Pick up pecans as soon as possible after they fall to the ground. Damp nuts with limited mold can be dried n the oven.

*Prepare your Satsuma orange shelters so that you can move fast if we get a prolonged, hard freeze prediction. See: http://aggie?horticulture.tamu.edu/PATIOCITRUS/

Shade Trees and Shrubs

*Do not put leaves in the garbage. Benefit from fallen leaves by mowing them and leaving them on the lawn or by using them as mulch in the shrub border.

*If you're going to plant a pecan tree, consider Pawnee. It makes a reasonably sized lawn tree that doesn't seem prone to limb breakage. The nuts are relatively small and early so it does not require as much water or care to get a full nut.

*If you plan to plant bare-root trees or shrubs, prune the tops back at least one-third to one-half before planting.


Turf Grass

*If you didn't get your lawn fertilizer down in October, do it now-before the first freeze and as long as the grass hasn't gone dormant. This equates to about 5-7 lbs. of a 15-19% nitrogen manufactured mix or 11 lbs. of 9% organic mix per 1,000 square feet. The nutrients will be stored for a fast start in the spring. Use a 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ration of N-P-K.

*If you have a winter weed problem, get a winter weed pre-emergent herbicide down quickly. Check the label to make sure the product matches your needs.

*Treat brown patch with a fungicide labeled for that purpose, such as PCNB (Turficide) or F-STOP. See: http://www.plantanswers.com/brown_spots.htm

*Cut way back on the water. Water the lawn only every 2 weeks with one inch of water if we don't get rain.

*It's too late to plant Bermuda.

*Over seeding rye grass for winter green only works on Bermuda; Zoysia and St. Augustine have too thick a sod. Rye grass will kill buffalo grass. See: http://www.plantanswers.com/overseeding.htm


Vegetables

*Plant spinach in November.

*Side dress your cole crops and onions with a cup of slow-release lawn fertilizer per 10 feet of row.

*Tomatoes and peppers can be protected from light freezes with blankets. If you're successful, they'll produce another 3-4 weeks. Harvest them regularly…or keep the chow-chow and fried green tomato recipes handy.

*Plant radishes, carrots, beets, and greens this month.

*Watch for worms and caterpillars on cole crops. Treat with Bt (bacillus thuringiensis.) It's only active for 3-4 days, so plan to use it twice a week.

===============================================
===============================================

December Calendar by Dr. Tom Harris

Color

*Get those spring-flowering bulbs in the ground this month. Be careful not to over water color plants during the winter. Check the soil with your finger. If it is dry down to about one inch, water carefully by hand.

*Plastic cups sunk in the ground and ½ filled with beer attract and drown slugs and snails.

*Most container plants react to the season by reducing growth rates. Cut back on the water and fertilizer until next spring. Keep your cool weather bedding plants well fertilized with a soluble material such as Peters 20-20-20 or Miracle Gro.

*It is not too late to plant pansies, the premier color plant for the winter here.

*After they freeze back, you can cut lantana, mallow hibiscus, Esperanza and other cold sensitive plants to the ground.

*Place orders for seeds now so you will have them when you are ready to plant in the spring. You get the best choices by ordering early.

Fruits and Nuts

*This is a good month to plant fruit and pecan trees. The recommended varieties are: Apple - Dorsett Golden, Gala, Mollie's Delicious; Apricot-Blenheim; Pears- Ayers, Leconte, Orient, Warren; Plum - Methley, Santa Rosa; Pecan - Desirable, Pawnee, Sioux; Blackberry - Kiowa, Rosborough, Apache (thornless); Blueberry - Tifblue ONLY. See: http://www.plantanswers.com/blueberries.htm ; Fig - Alma, Celeste; Grape - Black Spanish, Champanel, Blanc DuBois; Peach - June Gold, La Feliciana

Shade Trees and Shrubs

*Chop the fallen leaves with your lawn mower and let them lay on the lawn or use them for mulch.

*Harvest the mistletoe (a parasite) from your trees after the leaves fall. Use a blade of some type strapped to a cane pole.

*Consider a living Christmas tree. Arizona cypress or Afghan pines do well in our alkaline soils and can be moved into the landscape after use as a Christmas tree for a couple of weeks. Plant the same as any other tree.

*December is a good month to prune oak trees. Even in winter, however, the wound should be painted immediately after pruning. The trees are most susceptible to infection for 2-3 days after pruning.
Plant fruit trees on 8' x 8' raised beds with drip irrigation to reduce stress and the resultant bacterial canker.


Turf Grass

*Cut way back on the water. Water the lawn only every 2 weeks with an inch of water if we don't get rain. If it rains, don't water for 3 weeks.

*St. Augustine that is dry is very susceptible to freeze damage.


Vegetables

*Side dress your cole crops and onions with a cup of slow-release lawn fertilizer or ammonium sulphate per 10 feet of row.

*December is a good month to plant spinach transplants. This area is a premier fresh spinach production area in North America. The tasty green is one of the most nutritious vegetables available.

*If tomatoes are full sized, but not showing any color, pick them and bring them into the house. They'll ripen on the counter.

Drain and store garden hoses and watering equipment…but don't put them so far away that you can't get to them in case you need to do a little watering this winter.

November Calendar by Dr. Tom Harris

Color

*It's winter-annual time. Select from pansies, spring bulbs, flowering kale, Dianthus, calendula, viola, Johnny jump-ups, alyssum, and snapdragons. If you use tulips and hyacinth bulbs, make sure they have 4-6 weeks of chill in the refrigerator.

*Be ready to move the bougainvilleas, hibiscus, Plumeria, purple fountain grass, citrus, Mandevilla and other tender plants into the greenhouse or garage at the first cold weather. Plan for ventilation as it gets pretty warn in San Antonio in November.

*Fall asters are spectacular. Plant them now for a good show next fall.
*Get Texas Gold columbines in the ground to make a good groundcover under deciduous trees.

*Plant your wildflower seeds this month.

*If you plan to plant roses next January or February, prepare beds now with composted manure or pine bark mixed with existing soil.

Fruits and Nuts

*Pick up pecans as soon as possible after they fall to the ground. Damp nuts with limited mold can be dried n the oven.

*Prepare your Satsuma orange shelters so that you can move fast if we get a prolonged, hard freeze prediction. See: http://aggie?horticulture.tamu.edu/PATIOCITRUS/

Shade Trees and Shrubs

*Do not put leaves in the garbage. Benefit from fallen leaves by mowing them and leaving them on the lawn or by using them as mulch in the shrub border.

*If you're going to plant a pecan tree, consider Pawnee. It makes a reasonably sized lawn tree that doesn't seem prone to limb breakage. The nuts are relatively small and early so it does not require as much water or care to get a full nut.

*If you plan to plant bare-root trees or shrubs, prune the tops back at least one-third to one-half before planting.


Turf Grass

*If you didn't get your lawn fertilizer down in October, do it now-before the first freeze and as long as the grass hasn't gone dormant. This equates to about 5-7 lbs. of a 15-19% nitrogen manufactured mix or 11 lbs. of 9% organic mix per 1,000 square feet. The nutrients will be stored for a fast start in the spring. Use a 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ration of N-P-K.

*If you have a winter weed problem, get a winter weed pre-emergent herbicide down quickly. Check the label to make sure the product matches your needs.

*Treat brown patch with a fungicide labeled for that purpose, such as PCNB (Turficide) or F-STOP. See: http://www.plantanswers.com/brown_spots.htm

*Cut way back on the water. Water the lawn only every 2 weeks with one inch of water if we don't get rain.

*It's too late to plant Bermuda.

*Over seeding rye grass for winter green only works on Bermuda; Zoysia and St. Augustine have too thick a sod. Rye grass will kill buffalo grass. See: http://www.plantanswers.com/overseeding.htm


Vegetables

*Plant spinach in November.

*Side dress your cole crops and onions with a cup of slow-release lawn fertilizer per 10 feet of row.

*Tomatoes and peppers can be protected from light freezes with blankets. If you're successful, they'll produce another 3-4 weeks. Harvest them regularly…or keep the chow-chow and fried green tomato recipes handy.

*Plant radishes, carrots, beets, and greens this month.

*Watch for worms and caterpillars on cole crops. Treat with Bt (bacillus thuringiensis.) It's only active for 3-4 days, so plan to use it twice a week.

===============================================
===============================================

December Calendar by Dr. Tom Harris

Color

*Get those spring-flowering bulbs in the ground this month. Be careful not to over water color plants during the winter. Check the soil with your finger. If it is dry down to about one inch, water carefully by hand.

*Plastic cups sunk in the ground and ½ filled with beer attract and drown slugs and snails.

*Most container plants react to the season by reducing growth rates. Cut back on the water and fertilizer until next spring. Keep your cool weather bedding plants well fertilized with a soluble material such as Peters 20-20-20 or Miracle Gro.

*It is not too late to plant pansies, the premier color plant for the winter here.

*After they freeze back, you can cut lantana, mallow hibiscus, Esperanza and other cold sensitive plants to the ground.

*Place orders for seeds now so you will have them when you are ready to plant in the spring. You get the best choices by ordering early.

Fruits and Nuts

*This is a good month to plant fruit and pecan trees. The recommended varieties are: Apple - Dorsett Golden, Gala, Mollie's Delicious; Apricot-Blenheim; Pears- Ayers, Leconte, Orient, Warren; Plum - Methley, Santa Rosa; Pecan - Desirable, Pawnee, Sioux; Blackberry - Kiowa, Rosborough, Apache (thornless); Blueberry - Tifblue ONLY. See: http://www.plantanswers.com/blueberries.htm ; Fig - Alma, Celeste; Grape - Black Spanish, Champanel, Blanc DuBois; Peach - June Gold, La Feliciana

Shade Trees and Shrubs

*Chop the fallen leaves with your lawn mower and let them lay on the lawn or use them for mulch.

*Harvest the mistletoe (a parasite) from your trees after the leaves fall. Use a blade of some type strapped to a cane pole.

*Consider a living Christmas tree. Arizona cypress or Afghan pines do well in our alkaline soils and can be moved into the landscape after use as a Christmas tree for a couple of weeks. Plant the same as any other tree.

*December is a good month to prune oak trees. Even in winter, however, the wound should be painted immediately after pruning. The trees are most susceptible to infection for 2-3 days after pruning.
Plant fruit trees on 8' x 8' raised beds with drip irrigation to reduce stress and the resultant bacterial canker.


Turf Grass

*Cut way back on the water. Water the lawn only every 2 weeks with an inch of water if we don't get rain. If it rains, don't water for 3 weeks.

*St. Augustine that is dry is very susceptible to freeze damage.


Vegetables

*Side dress your cole crops and onions with a cup of slow-release lawn fertilizer or ammonium sulphate per 10 feet of row.

*December is a good month to plant spinach transplants. This area is a premier fresh spinach production area in North America. The tasty green is one of the most nutritious vegetables available.

*If tomatoes are full sized, but not showing any color, pick them and bring them into the house. They'll ripen on the counter.

Drain and store garden hoses and watering equipment…but don't put them so far away that you can't get to them in case you need to do a little watering this winter.

 


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