Mid-Atlantic

December, 2003
Regional Report

Keep Trees Cold

Living Christmas trees can tolerate being inside a warm house for just a few short days. Store the tree outside, then acclimate it gradually on a cool porch or in a garage and then finally bring it indoors. Reverse the steps when you take it outside to plant.

Apply Tree Wrap

Thin-barked young trees (such as maples and fruit trees) can suffer freeze/thaw damage on sunny but cold winter days, causing them to develop so-called frost cracks in their trunks. Prevent this by using tree wrap (sold at garden centers) for the first few years. Remember to remove the wrap next spring.

Give Gardening Gifts

In my experience, a gardener always needs plant labels and work gloves. Or, consider a subscription to a gardening magazine, a new gardening book, or a new garden journal. Seed-starting supplies and specialty tools also are good choices, as are gift certificates from a favorite garden center or catalog.

Go Visit!

Check out the special holiday displays and presentations and plant sales as well as seasonal garden walks/lectures at your local botanical garden, arboretum, or park. Many festive special events are held at this time of year when we might not normally think of visiting.

Caring for Holiday Gift Plants

Many holiday gift plants will last longer with a little TLC. Keep them in a cool room (65 degrees) and out of both hot and cold drafts. Keep the soil slightly moist but not sopping wet; use your finger to test the soil and see when you need to water. Most will do fine in a bright location but protected from direct sun.

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