New England

January, 2007
Regional Report

Order Fruit Trees

Now is the time to order bare-root fruit trees, which are shipped in late winter or early spring (for planting time in your area) before they start to grow. Trees should be planted immediately upon arrival.

Clean Seed-Starting Supplies

To get off to a clean start with seed starting this year, disinfect flats and pots in soapy water with bleach added: one part bleach to nine parts water. The longer you can soak them, the better. Then rinse well.

Repot Houseplants

Now is a good time to repot any houseplants with roots coming out of the drainage holes. Choose a pot one size larger than the current pot, remove the plant, trim any errant roots, and repot using fresh potting soil.

Propagate African Violets

African violets are easy to propagate by leaf cuttings. Snip off a leaf, dip the cut end in a rooting hormone powder, such as Rootone, and stick the cutting in a pot filled with vermiculite or sand. Cover the pot with a perforated clear plastic bag and keep the soil moist. In a few weeks you'll have new plants, which you can pot up separately.

Check Orchids for Mealybugs and Scale

Orchid flowers are favorite hiding spots for mealybugs, and scale insects favor the flower stalks and undersides of leaves. Inspect each flower closely, especially the backside where it attaches to the flower stem. Remove insects with a Q-Tip dipped in alcohol.

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