New England

January, 2004
Regional Report

Order Fruit Trees

Now is the time to order bare-root fruit trees. Bare-root trees are shipped in late winter or early spring before they start to grow. Trees will be shipped for planting time in your area, and they should be planted immediately upon arrival.

Add Mulch

If your perennial gardens lack enough snow cover, refresh protective mulch by spreading evergreen boughs from your discarded Christmas tree or holiday greens over the beds. The fluctuating temperatures of the next month or two can do more damage than consistent cold, and the mulch will help keep the soil a constant temperature.

Clean Pruning Tools

Before the main pruning season starts, take apart hand pruners and shears, sharpen the blades, oil the levers, and remove any rust. Pruning trees will go much faster and be easier on your hands when you use sharp, well-maintained equipment.

Repot Houseplants

Now is a good time to repot any houseplants with roots coming out of the drainage holes. Choose a pot one size larger than the current pot, remove the plant, trim any errant roots, and repot using fresh potting soil.

Propagate African Violets

African violets make great houseplants and will flower in winter if given supplemental light. To propagate new plants, take a leaf cutting, dip the cut end in a rooting hormone powder, such as Rootone, and stick the cutting in a pot filled with vermiculite or sand. Cover the pot with a perforated clear plastic bag and keep the soil moist. In a few weeks you\\\'ll have new plants, which you can pot up separately.

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