Middle South

January, 2009
Regional Report

Maintain Cutting Tools

With dormant-season pruning just a few weeks away, it's important to clean and sharpen hand clippers, saws, loppers, and other cutting tools. Now is also the best time to drain and replace the oil in your mower, and sharpen or replace the blade.

Monitor Indoor Plants

Check indoor plants for spider mites, mealybugs, and scale. For good pest control, remember to spray insecticidal soap on the underside, as well as the topside, of leaves. Once every two weeks or so when the weather is mild, move plants overwintering in the garage to the driveway and water well.

Check Seed Box

Before seeds are stocked for the upcoming growing season, check your seed box and discard any packets that are more than three years old, along with any seeds saved from the garden that are in poor condition. Then, make a list of those that need to be purchased.

Review Books and Periodicals

Take advantage of bad weather days by looking through your gardening library and reading or perusing books that were saved for just such an occasion. Also check periodicals, "idea folders" containing unique design ideas or plants of interest, or any other materials that were set aside for later enjoyment.

Evaluate the Garden's Shortcomings

While the memory of last summer's garden is still fresh in your mind, stroll the winter landscape with paper and pencil, looking at the garden with critical eyes and noting problem spots. In the Middle South, trees and shrubs can be planted throughout the winter, except during periods of extreme cold.

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