Now's good time to clean up debris laying around from frostbitten plants; beekeeping basics class in January

December 3, 2017


Just in time for holiday decorating, it's time to prune most evergreens in your Virginia Beach garden. 


To preserve the health of your evergreens, take care when harvesting from the landscape.


Use proper pruning cuts, be aware of signs of disease or pests and take cuttings from areas that already need pruning.


This evergreen pruning calendar and shrub pruning calendar tell you which trees and shrubs to prune now and gives some information about proper pruning.


Boxwood cuttings are popular this time of year and can be harvested from home landscapes or purchased at garden centers.


Be aware that "Boxwood Blight" is a pathogen that can spread to boxwood plantings from these cuttings.


Signs and symptoms include leaf spots with a dark border, white masses on stems and the underside of leaves, and defoliation.


To prevent the spread of the blight, inspect boxwood cuttings before introducing them to your home.


These photos can help you identify signs of it.


If you use boxwood in your decorations, bag them for disposal when you are through with them.


December Garden Chores:


Prune evergreens and many shrubs.


Remove fallen leaves from lawns, mulch and use to suppress weeds in garden beds.


Clean up debris from frost bitten plants. If you wish to cultivate habitat in your garden, you may want to leave a lot of fall debris in your garden. However, dead vegetable plants, plants that had disease or pest problems, and plants that turn to "mush" after frost, should be removed now to help prevent the spread of disease next year. Do not compost plant material with disease or pests.


Incorporate soil amendments and compost into garden beds.


Assess the garden for areas that need more winter interest, you'll know where to focus planting later.


As the year wraps up, Virginia Beach Master Gardeners would like to thank everyone who attended our events, read our newsletter, visited our website, or followed us on social media. Our key mission is to provide education and it is at the heart of all we do. If you'd like to see a particular topic covered, please let us know. You can email suggestions directly to


Have gardening questions? Help is available year round through the Master Gardener Help Desk by calling 757-385-8156 or email your question to 



On the horizon: 


Jan. 26 to 28 - Virginia Flower & Garden Expo the Virginia Flower and Garden Expo at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.


Jan. 29 - Beekeeping basics with Pam Fisher, Chesapeake Master Gardener and beekeeper, who will teach the basics of keeping bees and how to be around bees safely. Free and open to the public; No registration required, at the Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library, 4100 Virginia Beach Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA, 23452, 7 to 8 p.m.


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