December Gardener’s Almanac tips: From perfect holiday houseplants to protecting your outdoor landscape

Photo by golubovy/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

FEATURE — Though yards and gardens were put to bed some time ago, there are still outdoor tasks to consider and holiday gardening gifts still yet to give.

Here are some tips and suggestions from USU Extension to keep your outdoor plants happy and your indoor space homey for the holidays.

If natural precipitation is sparse and the ground is not frozen, water evergreen trees and shrubs to ensure they are well hydrated heading into winter.

If you live somewhere that regularly freezes, use deicing compounds sparingly to avoid salt damage to landscape plants. Chemical deicing is based on the fact that solutions containing salt freeze at lower temperatures than pure water. Pure water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Water with salt dissolved in it freezes at temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once a deicing compound is applied to a surface, it melts the ice, creating a brine solution with a freezing point lower than that of pure water. The process continues until all of the ice is melted or the meltwater dilutes the salt solution to a point where it refreezes.

Photo by Steven White/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

While a helpful complement to the physicality of mechanical removal, deicing can not only damage landscaping but also hardscape surfaces outside, as well as indoor flooring. It can also have a negative impact on the environment.

For more information, as well as common and alternative deicing compounds, click here.

May your December days be merry and bright

Haven’t picked out your Christmas tree yet or you’re concerned about keeping it through the holiday season? Click here for information on Christmas tree selection and care.

Poinsettia plants | Photo courtesy of Melinda Myers, LLC, St. George News

Besides the Christmas tree, there are a variety of other ways to decorate your home. Poinsettias are always a popular choice this time of year. Learn how to care for them and keep them alive beyond the holidays here.

You can also spruce up you holiday decorating with a wide variety of other holiday plants, including Christmas cactuses and kalanchoe. They offer color and texture to décor.

For the gardener in your life, great holiday gifts include books, pruners, gift certificates, gloves, a living wreath, pottery and yard ornaments. Another great gift idea is signing the person up to become a member of the USU-sponsored Botanical Gardens and receive discounts on classes and workshops, along with other benefits.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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