Hot tips for gardeners when it's cold outside

  • Published: Friday, Dec. 7, 2018

MARBLE HILL, Mo. - As winter lingers, gardeners plan and dream of warmer days ahead.

Follow these simple tips now for more gardening joy in the spring, says Donna Aufdenberg, University of Missouri Extension field specialist in horticulture.

-Mulch azaleas and rhododendrons.

-Trim hollies and other evergreens. Use the prunings for holiday decorations.

-Check summer bulbs in storage. Put them in a cooler spot if you see sprouting. Remove damaged or moldy roots, which indicate too much moisture. If bulbs appear shriveled, put them in a container with potting medium or sawdust to restore moisture.

-Leave a 1-foot-wide bare circle around fruit tree trunks when spreading mulch. Mice like to nest in the mulch, says Aufdenberg. Wrap the trunks of fruit trees to prevent rabbit damage and sunscald.

-Clean and oil garden hand tools before storing. Winterize all power equipment.

-Enjoy seed catalogs as they arrive, or organize them in a central location for when you are ready to plan next year’s garden.

-Line shelves or windowsills with aluminum foil that reflects light for houseplants.

-Move plants from icy windows and drafty doorways.

-Water houseplants with tepid water. Avoid shocking them with cold water.

Learn more about Missouri Master Gardener online training at

Registration deadline for the next session is Jan. 11. The 14-week class begins Jan. 20.

Writer: Linda Geist

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Donna Aufdenberg

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