Lower South

December, 2003
Regional Report

Bring In the Berries

Cut branches of berrying plants to brighten an indoor arrangement. Yaupon and possumhaw hollies are great native choices. Keep in mind that yaupon holly berries are poisonous. They should be avoided if you have small children. Other berry good choices for brightening a winter day in the lower south include standard nandina, pyracantha, and several other species of landscape hollies.

Extend the Life of Holiday Plants

To keep your poinsettia and holiday cactus beautiful, maintain the soil moisture and provide them with bright light. Remove the plastic or foil wrap, drench the soil, allow it to drain well, and then replace the pot wrapping. Keep the plants out of warm drafts and they should provide more than a month or two of beauty.

Spice Up Cool-Season Salads

Here in the south we can grow many salad vegetables all winter. Spice up your salad garden with spinach, arugula, kale, and various mesclun greens. Give these cool-weather veggies a cover on a bitter cold night and they'll keep going all winter.

Keep Fallen Leaves Off the Lawn

Our southern turf grasses slow their growth in cool temperatures but don't go dormant. Whenever we have a few warm days they become more active, producing carbohydrates for better hardiness and stronger spring growth. Fallen leaves shade the turf and can stress it. Rake them up for use as mulch, or shred them with a mulching mower to recycle them into the turf.

Prepare Landscape Equipment and Hoses for Winter

Drain gasoline from power tools and run the engine until fuel in the carburetor is used up before storing them for winter. Drain and store garden hoses and watering equipment in a readily accessible location in case they are needed during an extended winter dry spell. Water left in hoses can freeze and damage them.

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