Landscapes, Gardens & More in the Florida Panhandle

December 2017


December is the month we do things to keep the pipes and animals from freezing. Also, there are certain plants that are in containers we put in the green house or bring inside, but what about the ones that we planted in the ground that will freeze. Many of the plants are adapted to our climate and do very well without any freeze protection. There are a few though that need some special attention.


Citrus: All citrus is not alike when it comes to cold weather. Satsumas are cold hardy down to about 28 degrees F. Meyer lemons will freeze at a higher temperature. Some of the oranges will take cold weather down to freezing.

It is best to be prepared to protect these and other cold sensitive plants. Following is a list of methods that have been used in the past.

  1. Put Christmas lights (like C7) that are not LED lights on the tree to provide heat.
  2. Use frost cloth that was made for plants.
  3. Build a structure over the tree. Cover the structure and put a light or thermostat controlled heater inside.
  4. Use water to protect the plant. Large sprinklers for the whole tree and micro sprinklers if you are only trying to protect the graft.

No, matter which method you use, be sure to not let the plant get to hot. Another thing to remember is that plastic will burn the plant if it comes into contact with it in the sunshine.


Another plant that the buds are lost on is the Camelia. Many times you can save these by using frost cloth, sheet or a blanket to cover them with. Most of these bloom in the winter time and a little protection will keep them blooming during the season.


Remember that now is the time to apply dormant oils to all of the fruit trees. This will help control all of the fungus, insect eggs and other organisms that are trying to over-winter on your plants. Clean plants are healthy plants.


Thanksgiving has come and gone and we are off to another holiday. The stores are buzzing with sales and many other things to get our attention. Families are getting together for special meals, work places are having parties, churches are remembering the reason for the season and many of us are participating in their programs. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11

No matter how we are celebrating, the important thing is to do it safely. Be sure to check all electric cords lights and so forth for any safety hazards. Remember the small children and pets. They do not know what the safety hazards are.


If you are using a live tree, be sure to keep water in the basin under it. If it dries out at the base, it will not absorb water any longer because it seals over from the sap in the tree. When you purchase the live tree, be sure it is fresh and when you get home remove one to two inches from the trunk before placing it in the house. A well-watered tree is safe and will not burn easily. A dry tree can easily become a fire hazard.

We at Maphis Nursery and Tree Farm wish you a very Merry Christmas. Remember the reason for the season and celebrate it. Along time ago it was written that “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16