Coastal and Tropical South

December, 2004
Regional Report

Select Citrus for Your Climate

Citrus trees are widely available in December, but choose for your region's lowest temperatures or grow in containers. Satsumas and kumquats have the widest range, surviving to 20 degrees. Meyer lemon, Hamblin orange, mandarins, and tangelo can take 25 degrees. But grapefruits, limes, and most oranges cannot tolerate freezing temperatures.

Keep Christmas Tree Well Watered

Every year dehydrated Christmas trees cause preventable house fires. Choose a place for the tree away from fireplaces, heater vents, and sunny windows to slow the drying process. Check the water in the tree stand every day, especially after using lights for several hours. Spray garlands with water or antidessicant solutions daily.

Use Veggie Wraps

The popular floating row covers that exclude squash vine borers and leaf miners from infesting vegetable plants have other uses. Unseasonable and unexpected low temperatures can spoil the looks and good taste of lettuce and other greens. The light insulation of row covers holds just enough heat to help them through.

Growing Winter Annuals

All winter long, many favorite spring annuals are growing stems and even flowering if conditions are favorable. It's important to fertilize the annuals monthly during their growing season. Soluble fertilizers are easy to mix and use, but granular fertilizers have more staying power.

Prune Ornamental Grasses

As plumes die down, ornamental grasses prepare for new growth that begins in late winter. Their long-term health in the garden depends on pruning right before new growth starts. Part the leaves and look. As long as it\'s brown, you can prune. If any green is showing, prune above it.

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