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Pruning a Shrub

December Garden Tasks

Ornamental Cabbage

Prevention With Benefits

December is when gardens calm. Many trees are bare of leaves, and dormant plants are content and undemanding. Also quiet are the diseases, pests, and weeds. In fact, they are so quiet they are nearly defenseless, which means now is perfect to prevent them from coming back. For December, we will focus on prevention through drip, mulch, and winter pruning.
Prevention might be easier than you think—you may already be doing dormant care prevention and not even know it! Drip irrigation, mulch and winter pruning are key features of dormant care.

Drip irrigation is a multi-purpose powerhouse that prevents diseases and pests and weeds. Diseases easily become airborne and land on your plants when splashed by sprinklers. Snails, slugs and earwigs thrive in moisture, and sprinklers put water everywhere, allowing these pests to be everywhere. When water is focused at the root zone, weeds aren’t accidentally grown everywhere else. By using drip, we stop growing diseases, stop welcoming pests, and stop sprouting weeds—all while growing healthy, happy plants. This is prevention at its very best.
Mulch isn’t just good to look at. Mulch is a titan of control against diseases, pests and weeds. Mulch saves irrigation, targets root zones, and keeps soil healthy and alive, all while stopping weeds. Plants that don’t compete with weeds for water and nutrition are stronger and resist disease and pests. It is as simple as that!
Pruning removes dead, diseased and damaged branches where diseases and pests wait and hide until spring to cause trouble. When we winter prune those branches away, we remove trouble breeding spots and encourage healthy wood. Pruning also opens up the tree canopy to increase air circulation—and that allows your plant to avoid powdery mildew and rust. As an amazing bonus,
this pruning encourages higher flower and fruit yields that are more resistant to diseases and pests.

Prevention is so much easier and more affordable than trying to treat a problem later. Look at your drip, mulch and pruning practices with new appreciation for being the very best ways to prevent diseases, pests and weeds. Next year is looking better than ever!

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