Lower South

March, 2007
Regional Report

Web Finds

Basic Principles of Pruning Woody Plants
Pruning season is here and the Basic Principles of Pruning Woody Plants Web site from the University of Georgia provides excellent instruction on the proper way to prune a wide variety of plants. I especially like the detail and diagrams that teach how plants respond to various types of pruning cuts. Once you comprehend the principles involved you are better able to make pruning decisions on the plants in your landscape.

Clever Gardening Technique

Slow-Cook Leaves for Summer Soil Building
In fall and winter we have an abundance of leaves for adding to compost piles, mulching garden beds, or mixing into the soil in fallow garden areas. However, when summer comes we still need soil-building materials and mulch. I stockpile extra leaves in large wire fence rings for use later. Without the addition of nitrogen or green matter they won't compost much but will be ready for use as mulch. I also collect leaves from neighbors who bag them and leave them in the bags to do a "slow cook". Here's how. Open a bag and sprinkle a quarter cup of fertilizer on the leaves. Then sprinkle them with some water and close the bag with a twist tie. Set the bags out of sight behind a garage or other building. By summer in the moist, nutrient-rich environment the leaves will be about half decomposed and will be ready to go into the soil to add organic matter and nutrients.

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