Middle South

December, 2007
Regional Report

Avoid Walking on Lawns

Foot traffic can damage frozen or dormant grass. Discourage trampling by installing paths along popular routes. Before choosing a material for the path, consider how you'll maintain it, including whether you'll be able to mow over or around it.

Nurture a New Gardener

Give a lasting gift by offering to help a reluctant gardener with his or her garden. A coupon accompanying a gift of a plant, for example, might promise a certain number of hours of your time during spring planting. A single "failure" often keeps nongardeners from trying again, so encourage success by suggesting easy-care plants.

Build Bird-Nesting Boxes

Snowy days are a good time to build bluebird and other nesting boxes to set out this spring. Each species of bird has its preferences when it comes to the size of the box and hole, perch or no perch, etc. The Internet has a wealth of information and do-it-yourself plans.

Plan for Energy Conservation

Evaluate your landscape for ways to use plants to conserve energy. Does a tall evergreen close to a window block winter sun? Consider replacing it with a deciduous shrub. Is the north side of the house exposed to winter winds? Plan a windbreak next spring.

Continue Watering Evergreens

Water evergreen trees and shrubs, especially newly planted ones, up until the ground freezes and again during winter thaws. Evergreens continue to take up water throughout the winter, and plants with southern and western exposure are most likely to suffer from drying out.

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