Upper South

December, 2007
Regional Report

Avoid Walking on the Lawn

Surprising to many people is that although lawns are dormant now and the ground is frozen, grass is particularly sensitive to being walked on. The result will be dead or damaged turf next spring. So avoid taking a short cut across the lawn. Or, if you find yourself doing that, put down stepping stones or make at least a mental note to yourself to add a walkway next spring.

Care for Plants During Storms

Winter storms can wreak havoc on our gardens. The weight of heavy snowfalls can break branches or topple plants entirely over, especially with deciduous and needled evergreens. The best care is to go out periodically while the snow is still falling and gently shake the snow off. With ice storms, leave plants alone because attempting to remove it can damage plants.

Keep Cut Flowers Fresh Longer

Cut flowers, either already arranged or not, are a lovely last-minute gift, whether for others or yourself. Most arrangements are aided by florist's foam. Although this substance holds water, it's a good idea to check it every couple of days and moisten, if needed. Before arranging flowers yourself, recut the stem ends and immediately plunge into water. Use a commercial floral preservative in the water and change the water daily. With tulips, wrap them at night to keep stems straight and stiff and remove the white portion of the stem end as tulips only take up water through the green portion of the stem.

Weeding Never Ends

Chickweed, henbit, and wild onions continue growing all winter. Bundle yourself up and take advantage of a sunny, warm afternoon and weed these out of the garden. In general, these mainly sprout in the fall, so removing them now prevents their winter growth and makes one less chore to do in the spring.

Keep Florist Azaleas Flourishing

The azaleas available now at florist shops and groceries are usually very pot-bound and thirsty. Once the soil dries out, it is difficult to get the potting soil to absorb water and plants may drop their leaves. A good way to thoroughly moisten the soil is to soak the entire pot in a bucket of water, then remove and let the excess water drain off.

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