Toby's December 2019 Home, Lawn & Garden Tips:

for the best Home, Lawn & Garden

Toby has spent his entire adult life learning the best way to have the very best home, lawn, garden, and so much more.
Each month he puts together a new list of tips to help you with a plan that will ensure you keep everything up-to-date and going great.

Check back here every month for the very best tips, advice on how to do it right, and what to do!



  • Lawns that were seeded this fall will need watering once a week during dry periods until the ground is frozen. Be sure to disconnect garden hoses from the faucet after each watering to prevent faucets from freezing.
  • If you have new grass from fall planting don’t allow leaves to stay on the new grass for more than two to three days.
  • Dormant seed any thin or bare spots in your lawn. First hand rake or verti-cut areas to be seeded.
  • Mowing: Continue mowing until grass stops growing. Final mowing height for Bluegrass, Fescue is 2 – 2 ½ inches. For Zoysia, Bermuda grass it is 1 ½ - 2 inches. Letting grass stay too long during the winter could cause disease problems.


Trees & Shrubs

  • Trees can be planted until the ground is frozen. After they are planted water in well with a mixture of Mushroom Stuff plus water. Mulch 2 – 3 inches with a bark mulch but keep the mulch 4 – 6 inches away from the tree trunks.
  • Watch the water!!! During dry periods newly planted trees and shrubs should be watered once a week until the ground is frozen.
  • Watch for deer and rabbit damage. If they are a problem, use Deer and Rabbit Scram. It is the best product I’ve seen for repelling them.
  • Now is a great time to prune Hollies, Pines and Juniper Evergreens for holiday decorations.
  • Check mulch around trees and shrubs. Mulch 2 – 3 inches deep year round. Keep mulch 4 – 6 inches from tree trunks and main stems of shrubs.
  • Great time to prune trees. Do not treat pruned areas with black tree paint. Forestry tests show that tree pruning wounds heal over quicker if not treated with black tree paint. However, there is a new product that you should paint over pruned areas. Developed in Germany, it is called CUT GUARD. CUT GUARD is a biological plant wound dressing. Contains no “black asphalt petroleum”


Vegetables & Fruits

  • If not done in November place wire guards or tree wrap around trunks of fruit trees for protection against mice and rabbits. Remove them in April.
  • Fruit trees can be planted until the ground is frozen. For my favorite place to buy fruit trees, visit
  • It’s not too late to get your garden ready for spring. Gardens can be tilled as long as the soil isn’t frozen. If soils are wet wait 2 – 3 days before tilling. If tilling in tree leaves it is best to shred them first.
  • Leftover flower and vegetable seeds are best stored in a glass jar in the refrigerator.


Annuals, Perennial Flowers & Ornamental Grasses

  • To prevent insects or diseases from over wintering in the garden, remove and compost all plant debris.
  • Cut back and clean spent flowers and leaves of established perennials after they are damaged by frost. I don’t recommend removing the foliage of perennials planted this year. They will winter over better left untrimmed. Mulch 2 – 3 inches deep.



  • Cut Christmas tree care: Once a Christmas tree is cut the bottom of the trunk will seal over quickly and not absorb water. As soon as you get home with the tree make a fresh cut on the bottom of the trunk and remove about one inch. Immediately place the tree in warm water. Check daily and never allow the tree stand reservoir to dry out. If it does dry out you will have to remove the tree and make a fresh cut on the bottom of the trunk. Locate your Christmas tree in as cool a spot as possible in your home.
  • Poinsettia care: Poinsettias need 6 – 8 hours of indirect sunlight each day. Keep away from drafty areas or excessive heat. Daytime temperatures should be around 65 – 70 degrees and nighttime temperatures of 60 to 65 degrees. Water when the soil is slightly dry. If the pot has a decorative foil wrap, cut drainage holes in the bottom.


House & Home Tips

  • VERY IMPORTANT: call Anthony Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, 913-384-4440 for Fall Furnace Tune Up.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts.
  • Reverse ceiling fans to recycle hot air that has risen to the ceiling.
  • Check the snow blower. Make sure it is ready to go before the snow flies.
  • Check air pressure monthly in car tires for better gas mileage.
  • Winterize tools. Power equipment should have the oil changed and moving parts lubricated. Fuel systems should either be drained or have a gas stabilizing additive mixed into the fuel. Hand tools should be cleaned and oiled before storing for winter.
  • Clean or replace furnace filter.
  • Check clothes dryer vents and hoses for lint buildup that could cause a fire. Clean it if necessary.