Lower South

December, 2004
Regional Report

Plant Berrying Shrubs

Shrubs that produce ornamental berries add interest to the landscape. Many types produce their fruit in fall and winter, at a time when landscape color is limited. Now is a great time to plant shrubs. Hollies have separate male and female plants, so be sure you are getting female plants (which produce the berries), and a male plant for pollination if there are none nearby.

Don\'t Throw Away Free Fertilizer

More than half of the nutrients a tree takes up during the year are in its leaves. Recycle leaves back into the landscape through composting or mulching. Don\'t let this free \"black gold\" get away. You\'ll soon find you are asking the neighbors for their leaves, too, as you can hardly get enough of this valuable resource for the landscape and garden.

Keep the Christmas Tree Fresh and Safe

A little extra attention early on will help keep your tree fresh and attractive through the month of December. Cut an inch off the base when you get it home. Quickly put the base in water and check the basin daily for the first week, as it will use lots of water at first. After a week or so check the water every few days to prevent it from drying out. Check electric cords and lights for bare wires, and keep candles or other flames away from the tree.

Put Vegetable Garden to Bed

Remove spent garden vegetables and discard them in the compost pile. Rototill compost, leaves, or manure into the soil to allow it to decompose over the winter. Cover areas that won't be planted this winter with a thick blanket of leaves or other organic mulch materials. This will protect the soil, and in spring the leaves can be pulled off the row for planting.

Prepare Landscape Tools and Equipment For Winter

Drain gasoline from power tools, and run the engines until fuel in the carburetor is used up before storing them for winter. Drain and store garden hoses because water left inside can damage the hose when it freezes. Remove soil from hoes, spades, and shovels, and coat metal parts with a thin layer of oil to deter rust.

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