Welcome to Ellis County Master Gardeners Homepage

It’s December!  What needs to be done?


  • Plant pre-chilled tulip and hyacinth bulbs promptly after removing them from the refrigerator. Plant berry-producing trees and shrubs to attract birds to your landscape and for winter color. Some good choices are possumhaw holly, yaupon holly, Carolina buckthorn, rusty blackhaw viburnum and American beautyberry. Select plants from the nursery with the berries on them to know what you are buying.
  • Plant fruit and pecan trees.

 Fertilizing and Pruning

  • Do not top crape myrtles or remove the central leader of any shade tree.
  • Apply a root stimulator such as liquid seaweed or a mild solution of water-soluble fertilizer to newly planted trees and shrubs.
  • Apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch around perennial flowers and newly planted trees, shrubs and vines. It protects against winter freeze damage, conserves moisture and moderates soil temperatures.
  • Keep a spray can of pruning paint handy to immediately paint any wound on your oak trees. To help prevent oak wilt we no longer say there are windows of safety because of cold weather or hot weather. Central Texas weather is too unpredictable and changeable—paint every wound all year long.

 Garden Watch

  • Protect tender vegetation from the cold with a lightweight freeze cloth available at most nurseries and garden centers.
  • Continue to water lawns and newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials if rainfall is insufficient.
  • Water if needed, turn and keep feeding the compost pile with leaves, other yard clippings and raw kitchen scraps through the winter.

Rosemary – Tender Perennial: Prostrate or creeping to large upright evergreen shrub, rosemary’s pungent pine flavor is especially good with foods high in fat such as lamb and pork. Add to rice and potatoes, also good in breads and stuffing. Rosemary thrives in the Texas heat. Plant in full sun and give it plenty of room as it will become a very large evergreen bush. Rosemary is being used more and more in the home landscape as a hedge. There is also a prostrate or creeping variety that will trail down over a wall or garden edge. Both have pretty blue to pink and white flowers beginning in late summer through winter.

Click here to read the complete December Newsletter


Check out our Firewise information under the Resources tab above and learn how to be prepared before wildfire strikes.