New England

November, 2003
Regional Report

Leave Asparagus Stalks

If you can depend on consistent snow cover, leave the stalks to trap the snow. Otherwise, cut them to the ground and mulch the crowns with 3 to 4 inches of straw or bark chips.

Sow Perennials

Sow seeds of perennials that need cold treatment, such as alliums, gentians, monkshood, primulas, and alpine plants. Sow in flats and move them outside to a shady location, or sow directly in an empty bed outside. Cover with pine boughs.

Promoting Blooms on Christmas Cactus

Christmas cactus develops buds when night temperatures are 55 to 60 degrees F. If nights are warmer, place your plant where it receives no light from about 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. for 30 days, such as in a closet. Move the plant to a sunny location during the day.

Spread Mulch

Mulch perennials, tender shrubs, and newly planted trees with bark, straw, or pine boughs after the ground has frozen to a depth of 1 to 2 inches. By the time the ground freezes, rodents have usually found a winter hiding place and will not burrow in the mulch and feast on your plants.

Protect Tree Trunks from Animals

Protect trunks of fruit trees from mice and other critters with commercial tree guards, or make cylinders out of hardware cloth. Put these in place before the snow falls so they extend all the way to the base of the trees.

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