Coastal and Tropical South

September, 2005
Regional Report

Cleaning Up

In the wake of serious environmental damage inflicted on our region lately, here are some tips for dealing with damaged plants. Replant what you can or pot up what's left of smaller specimens. Prune off damaged branches or leaves, but leave those that lean or sprawl. Sometimes they recover on their own.

Safety First

Cleaning up takes time, so make a plan that will get the work done safely. Locate the essential hazards and remove them first, then work on the smaller problems in phases. Avoid working with power tools in slippery areas where leaves can cover holes and other debris that may trip you up.

Green Trenching

Use a version of sheet composting to dispose of large amounts of green matter and renew the soil at the same time. In flowerbeds, fencerows and hedge plantings, simply dig a shallow trench, and bury up to six inches of rotten stems, leaves and other green matter. Cover with soil.

Turn and Lime

When burying large amounts of green garden debris isn't possible, and the slime factor is gaining on healthy decomposition, use a stiff rake to turn the piles and sprinkle them with garden lime. The process may go a bit faster if you can add some brown leaves to the pile.

Tree Smarts

Removing tree limbs is exhausting even for those who make a career of it. Tired muscles can make for slow reflexes, leading to accidents with chainsaws and machetes. Teams of two can relieve each other and keep an eye out. Be smart: let someone know where you'll be working, in case of trouble.

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