New England

November, 2003
Regional Report

Water Evergreens

Make sure evergreens have a good deep watering before the ground freezes because they continue to respire, albeit slowly, during the winter. Protect young evergreens from wind damage during winter by wrapping them in burlap. If you use wooden protectors, it's not too soon to bring them out.

Pot Up Amaryllis Bulbs

Plant amaryllis bulbs in a sterile potting mix, setting the bulbs so that the top third of the bulb is above the soil line. Plant one bulb in a pot that's only slightly larger than the bulb. Or plant three in a larger container, spacing them about an inch apart. Place the container in a sunny, warm (70 degree F) room, keep soil moist, and soon you'll see sprouts followed by a flower stalk and buds. Once the flowers begin to open, move the container to a slightly cooler, more shaded location to make the flowers last longer.

Try Alternatives to Road Salt

Instead of using salt to deice your walks or driveway this winter, consider some less hazardous alternatives. Although salt melts ice well, it can harm the roots of nearby plants and lawn grass. Instead of salt, try using sand or kitty litter to keep your walkways safe for you and your plants.

Wrap Trees

To prevent sunscald and frost cracking on young, thin-barked trees, such as maples, wrap the trunks with tree wrap or paint the south- and southwest-facing sides of the trunk with white latex outdoor paint. This will reflect the warming rays of the sun so the tree bark doesn't heat up on winter days, only to be suddenly cooled when the sun sets and the temperatures plummet.

Planning for a Live Christmas Tree

If you are planning to buy a live Christmas tree that you'll plant after the holiday is over, dig and prepare the planting hole now before the soil freezes. Once you've dug the hole, place the soil from the hole in a nonfreezing garage or basement. When you're ready to plant, water the tree well before placing it in the hole, cover the root ball with soil up to where the roots flare out at the base of the trunk, and water again.

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