Get your soil tested this month. The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension can provide you (for a small fee) with a kit and test results for the lawn and garden. This is an invaluable tool that will provide you with recommendations on how to amend your soil in preparation for spring planting. If the ph level of your soil is off, you can add lime. You will be a step ahead for the spring and ready to grow. Click here for the information.
Prune and reshape evergreen trees and shrubs as well as dormant deciduous trees. The trimmings can be used for holiday decorating. Anything you haven’t gotten around to cutting back or cleaning up from last month can still be done this month. If you can, hold off on cutting back perennials with seeds that birds might be interested in over the winter.
Plant perennials, winter annuals, shrubs, bulbs, and trees as long as the ground isn’t frozen. Most of them are dormant and have very little water requirements right now, making it an easy time to plant. Protect any fragile plants by covering with burlap or extra mulch.
Clean up leaves. Clean out gutters and ditches. Grind any leaves on that are on your lawn or, if there are many, bag them and use them as mulch in your beds. It’s great to reuse the leaves so that there is shelter for little critters to overwinter beneath, but letting leaves cover the lawn completely prevents light from getting to it and will cause bare spots.
Do any necessary maintenance on your mowers, trimmers, and hand tools while you do not need to be using them.
Provide food and water to our area’s wintering birds. Look up what the birds you have, or want to attract, like to eat and feed accordingly.
Water your houseplants as necessary. Heating systems can dry them out.
This is a great time to build raised beds, window boxes, or to find unique containers for plantings. Always be sure your containers have drainage. Here are some unique ideas for containers.
Keep an eye out for spotted lanternfly egg masses on flat surfaces.
Remember that ticks can live through the winter and can be active any time the temperature is above freezing. Take necessary precautions when outside.
If it snows, brush snow off your shrubs and trees as they can get damaged by heavy loads.
Put up holiday lights. Even if you don’t celebrate, put in some kind of landscape lighting to illuminate the darker days. If you have landscape lighting, now is a good time to make sure it is all in working order.
If you have a live Christmas tree, water it regularly.
Slow down and enjoy the winter, as nature does.