Middle South

February, 2006
Regional Report

Cover Frost-Heaved Bulbs and Perennials

Fluctuating winter temperatures and alternating freeze/thaw cycles in early spring can heave perennials and bulbs out of the ground. If this happens, drying winds and extreme temperatures may damage exposed roots. Keep an eye out for frost-heaved plants and bulbs, and immediately replant or cover them with mulch or evergreen boughs leftover from the holidays.

Repot Houseplants

As the days begin to grow longer and brighter, houseplants will resume growth. Now is a good time to repot any houseplants with roots coming out of the drainage holes. Choose a pot an inch or so larger in diameter than the current container. Then remove the plant, trim any overly long or circling roots, and repot using fresh potting soil.

Start Leeks and Onions

Plant leek and onion seed indoors now. They need 8 to 10 weeks of growth before they go in the garden. Sprinkle the seed on top of seed-starting mix, keep it moist, and as soon as the seedlings emerge, place the flats under grow lights so they grow strong.

Watch for Whiteflies

Houseplants such as hibiscus and geraniums (Pelargonium) are often attacked by whiteflies. The adults are tiny, white, mothlike insects that will rise in a flutter when a plant is moved. The immature forms live on the undersides of leaves and suck the plant's juices. If left unchecked, they can cause leaf dieback. Spray plants with insecticidal soap to control them.

Plant Deciduous Trees

Late winter or early spring is a good time to set out new dogwoods and other deciduous trees. Dig a broad planting hole, but disturb the roots as little as possible as you get new trees situated for a long and happy life. Also remember that small trees usually transplant much more easily than large ones.

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