Lower South

December, 2003
Regional Report

Clean Up Perennial Beds

Perennial beds that have been frozen back to the ground can be cleaned up and put to bed for winter. This includes tender perennials such as canna, ginger, lantana, salvia, and many ferns. Cut the tops back to a couple of inches above the soil. Cover them with a few leaves and they'll be ready for the cold winter weather ahead.

Do Some Armchair Gardening

Make flower and vegetable garden plans now before the rush of spring planting. Time spent in armchair gardening before the fireplace will pay off in improved plant selection and a great garden next spring. Besides, it's fun to page through the catalogs. Place your orders early for best selection and so you will be ready next month to start sowing plants for spring.

Check Soil Moisture

Evergreen trees and shrubs continue to use moisture during our mild winters here in the south. If it has not rained in a couple of weeks, check the soil around these plants to be sure they are not suffering from lack of moisture. This is especially true for recent transplants, which lack an extensive root system.

Soil Test New Garden Areas

If you are planning on turning a new area into a garden next spring, there is still time to have your soil tested. Your County Extension office can provide information on how to take and submit a soil test, and how to amend the soil based on the results. It is much easier to amend the soil before planting rather than after.

Caring for a Christmas Tree

Keep water in the Christmas tree reservoir to help it last longer. When the season is over, check for a Christmas tree recycling program in your community. Many offer a drop-off location where the trees are shredded and the mulch is put to good use. If you have a chipper-shredder and some patience, you can even recycle it yourself.

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