New England

January, 2008
Regional Report

Protect Plants From Snowblower

When you are clearing your driveway with a snowblower this winter, direct the snow away from plants. Otherwise, the blowing ice crystals may damage the tender bark of young trees and shrubs. Or, alternatively, protect plants with a wrapping of burlap.

Combatting Fungus Gnats

If you've noticed tiny black insects resembling fruit flies in your house, your houseplants might have fungus gnats. Though annoying when they flit about, the 1/8-inch-long adult insects are harmless. Their tiny, worm-like larva live in moist soil and also cause little or no damage to plants. To control them, allow soil to dry out between waterings, use sticky traps, or drench soil with a biological control, such as Gnatrol.

Keeping Poinsettias Looking Healthy

You can still enjoy your poinsettia for weeks or months. Place the plant in the sunniest window in a cool (65 degrees F) spot in the house. Keep it out of cold drafts, and water only when the soil is absolutely dry. Begin fertilizing again in spring.

Put Together Plant Wish List

I have sticky notes all over the place with names of plants I've admired and wish to grow. This is a good time to consolidate them and to go over last year's garden journal to help plan for the 2008 garden. If you start early on making lists of things to grow, you'll have more time to add to it but also more time to pare down the list and make the tough choices. Assuming you can bring yourself to crossing things off.

Check Light Exposure of Windowsill Plants

The days are getting longer and the sun is growing stronger so make sure your orchids and African violets and other plants that can be damaged by direct sunlight are not getting scorched. Move them away from windows or pull a sheer curtain to block some light.

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