Coastal and Tropical South

February, 2005
Regional Report

What Gall!

When pruning shrubs and trees, you may find lumps on twigs and small branches. Usually woody and gnarled, these galls are ugly but generally harmless. Cut one open and there may be a bug inside, or not. If you want to cut out the twigs with galls, dispose of the prunings so the insects don't spread.

Make More Spiders

Who knows why, but spider plants (a.k.a. airplane plants) burst out with babies on long stems in winter. Indoors or out, it's time to make more. Once small roots have emerged from the babies, cut the stems from the mother plant and pot them for spring.

Getting the Most Out of Quince

For a quick week, flowering quince gets a jump on spring with flowers in classic peach, red, or white. Some consider quince too unreliable and too brief in bloom to plant. Use it as a background to the annual bed for early color, and prune right after flowering to insure next year's crop of flowers is a good one.

Plan For Taters

Never grown vegetables? Start this month with potatoes, like 'Red LaSoda'. Work up the soil and put a pile of leaves nearby. Plant the taters just below the soil surface, and when they sprout, begin pulling leaves up around the stem. Flowers above mean new potatoes below, so dig then.

Mulch Some More

Whether it's pruning camellias, cutting down cannas, or cleaning up debris in the garden after winter's storm, take time to check the mulch. Work in what's begun to rot, remove any that's matted down, and add a fresh layer about an inch deep around perennial crowns and the base of shrubs.

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