New England

February, 2007
Regional Report

Spray Dormant Oil

Winter thaws provide provide an opportunity to spray dormant oil on ornamental trees or shrubs that had insect problems last summer. You can spray dormant oil when temperatures will stay above freezing for twenty-four hours following the treatment. You must also do the spraying before the buds show green -- while the plant is still dormant. Follow the label instructions carefully to avoid damaging the plant.

Don't Start Seeds Too Early

It's so tempting to get into the springtime mood by starting seeds, but don't be fooled into starting them too early. Many plants require only six to eight weeks before transplanting into the garden, so count backward from the average last frost date for your local area and mark your calendar when to start each type of plant. Starting them too early may result in spindly seedlings because they don't receive enough light, and the transplanting process also can cause more transplant shock when the plants are larger.

Bring Home Fragrant Flowers and Plants

Nothing helps ease the winter doldrums like the fragrance of spring, so pay a visit to the local florist or greenhouse to find something to lift your spirits. A miniature calamondin orange tree or Kaffir lime tree or gardenia will bloom for many weeks in winter and spring. You may find forced hyacinths for sale, and many types of cut flowers are available.

Check for Frost-Heaved Plants

With winter thaws come frost-heaved plants. Check your perennials to see if they've been lifted out of the ground by alternating freezing and thawing temperatures. Gently replant them -- don't step on the soil to push them down. Cover them with evergreen boughs leftover from holiday decorating, or any leftover mulch that's not frozen solid.

Order Bare-Root Fruiting Plants

Now is the time to order bare-root fruiting trees and shrubs. They will be shipped in late winter or early spring before they start to grow, in time for planting in your area. They will need to be planted immediately upon arrival, so plan your spot now.

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