Regional To-Do List: December Tasks For Central States

Garden Covered In Snow With Trees Covered For Protection
dec oh
(Image credit: yulyao)

Ohio Valley gardening tasks this month focus primarily on the upcoming holidays and preventing winter damage to plants. As the snow begins to fly, making plans and preparations for upcoming garden projects can be added to the regional to-do list.

You're not the only one making a list this month either, Santa is too! Be extra good and you might receive those gardening tools on your wish list.

December Tasks for the Central States


There are few lawncare tasks on the central states this month.

  • Topping the list is protecting the turfgrass from damage. Weather permitting, cut the grass one last time to prevent snow mold.
  • If possible, avoid walking on frost covered or frozen lawns. This breaks the blades and damages the grass plants.
  • Avoid heavy holiday lawn decorations, as these prevent oxygen and sunlight from reaching the grass. Instead opt for the lightweight inflatables which have become exceedingly popular in recent years.

Flowerbeds, trees, and shrubs

December gardens can provide a variety of craft materials for wreaths, centerpieces, and other seasonal decorations. Be sure to remove greenery evenly to prevent plants from looking lopsided.

Here are some other Ohio Valley gardening issues which may need addressed this month:

  • Prevent insect and rodent problems by pulling mulch away from the trunks of trees and shrubs.
  • Gently remove heavy snow loads from shrubs and trees to prevent damage, but let ice melt on its own. Ice-coated branches are more prone to breakage.
  • Continue to water newly planted trees and shrubs when the ground isn't frozen and mulch perennial flowerbeds if needed.


By now December gardens should be cleared of old plant debris. Be sure tomato stakes and trellises for vining veggies have been removed and stored for the winter.

Here’s some other things to do:

  • Although the Ohio Valley gardening outdoor growing season has come to an end for the year, growing indoor lettuce or microgreens can provide fresh produce during the winter.
  • Check stores for winter produce and discard any which show signs of rotting. Wilted or shriveled veggies indicate storage humidity levels are too low.
  • Inventory seed packets. Discard those which are too old and make a list of the seeds you wish to order.
  • Plan next year's vegetable garden. Try a veggie you've never tasted and if you like, add it to your garden plans.


With so few outside tasks on the regional to-do list this month, it's a great time to wrap up those unfinished chores before the end of the year. Repot houseplants, oil hand tools, and safely discard outdated chemicals.

Here's a few more items to check off the list:

  • Decorate the house with poinsettias you forced or purchase new ones.
  • For the best selection, choose a live or fresh-cut Christmas tree early in the month.
  • If you haven't already done so, purchase or handmake gifts for gardening friends. Gardening gloves, an apron, or decorated planters are always welcome.
  • Send power equipment out for repair or tune-up. Your local shop will appreciate the business this month.
  • Make sure snow removal equipment is within easy reach and fuel is on hand.
Laura Miller

Laura Miller has been gardening all her life. Holding a degree in Biology, Nutrition, and Agriculture, Laura's area of expertise is vegetables, herbs, and all things edible. She lives in Ohio.