As the year ends, gardening still goes on with weed control in the lawn, flowers being planted for winter color, and new shrubs and trees being planted.

By planting now, you allow roots to grow and develop a strong root system over the winter months. As long as the soil temperature stays above 45 degrees, root development will occur.

Plus, there is less heat stress occurring on the plants and they aren’t trying to grow new growth or flower. Just remember that water is still needed in dry periods, so watering once or twice a week is important in developing a strong root system.

By spraying weeds now, you control those winter weeds that are developing and clean up any stubborn summer weeds.

Also, you can mow to pick up leaves that are falling, but do not drop the mower deck as that can stress the grass and expose the roots to cool temperatures. Mowing too close can also allow more light to get to the ground, which in turn allows weed seeds the opportunity to germinate.

If you have pine straw, rake it up and apply it to your beds for a new layer of mulch.

The cooler weather has reduced the amount of insect damage on lawns this fall. We are still seeing some disease activity on lawns, so monitor your watering. I would recommend to cut your irrigation off and water only when we do not receive any rain within a 10-day period.

Tree and shrub insect issues are still a problem during winter months. Now is a good time to apply horticultural oil and insecticides to control insect eggs that are on the leaves of the plants to prevent them from hatching next spring.

Last but not least, keep those holiday plants away from drafts and heat vents, as these can dry out plants or cause the plants to collapse due to cold temperatures. Give them plenty of sunlight during the day and water them in the sink to let them drain.

Have a great holiday season.

Edward Poenicke is a retired Chatham County extension agent. This article is provided in collaboration with Lawn Doctor of Beaufort County.