Mid-Atlantic

November, 2006
Regional Report

Plant the Unplanted

If you have pots of unplanted perennials and shrubs, plant them now. (Such as those must-haves from fall sales and summer buys that just never quite made it into the ground.) If they can easily go where you ideally want them, that's great. If you're not sure where you want them, plant them in good soil anywhere. Save the design decisions until spring transplanting. Water well and apply liquid kelp as directed to reduce transplant shock.

Clean the Bird Feeder

For birds' health, be sure to wash and disinfect the bird feeder. Moldy, decomposing seeds and droppings are source of infectious bird diseases. Experts recommend cleaning feeders once every two weeks; more often during times of heavy use. For best results, wash feeder thoroughly in hot, soapy water, then soak or rinse it in a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water. Dry the feeder thoroughly before refilling.

Give Thought to Locating Feeders

Place your feeder in a quiet place that's easy to see and convenient to refill. A feeder near natural shelter such as trees or shrubs offers refuge to birds waiting their turns to feed. Evergreens are ideal; their foliage buffers winter winds and gives year-round hiding places from predators. For ground-dwelling birds like song sparrows, place loosely stacked brush piles near feeders as resting and escape cover.

Provide Warm Water for Birds

Birds need water year round to drink, clean, fluff feathers, and preen. Birdbaths need not be fancy. They range from a garbage can lid or shallow plastic basin to an ornamental garden pond. During winter though, an immersion-type water heater will keep water from freezing. The latest immersion heaters are safe to operate and turn off when the water evaporates. Be sure to use a ground-fault interrupted circuit to eliminate danger of shock.

Remove Weedy Tree Seedlings

While you're raking leaves from the lawn and other areas, take time to pull out young unwanted tree seedlings that have taken root ... except in places where you might like trees in the future. If there's a diseased or damaged tree that will need removal soon, leave a few young tree seedlings below it to repopulate the spot. After two or three years, remove the weaker seedlings and encourage the strongest.

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