Coastal and Tropical South

November, 2009
Regional Report

Right Tree

Tree planting time is November to February, because it is important to give roots time to get established before they need to support leafy growth. In choosing the right tree, know its likely ultimate height: "small" means 15 feet tall; "medium" at least 30 feet; and "tall" can mean 50 feet and more. Plant natives whenever you can, both for their beauty and sense of place, but also because they support native wildlife.

Choosing Containers

Because many areas typically have very cold spells in the winter, or long hot times in summer, choose containers that can take the changes. Larger sizes will hold heat longer in the root ball, thus risking less cold damage to roots. They won't dry out as fast, either, demanding less water than small pots. If you use the handy tubes that you fill with water and stick into the soil, mark your calendar to water the pots thoroughly every six weeks or so.

Amaryllis Tips

Lots of people give and get amaryllis kits as gifts, and they do keep on giving, first in pots, then in the garden. Plant in the light soil mix provided, leaving the neck of the bulb above ground. Start in a cool room to control its height. Give an amaryllis kit to a child along with a yard stick to measure its amazing growth! Transplant to the garden in spring.

Bulb Depth

A common complaint: I planted lots of bulbs, but only a few came up! The answer to this dilemma is proper planting depth. When the guide tells you to plant them bulbs 4 to 6 inches deep, don't believe it. In our regions, if bulbs need to buried, put them no deeper than twice their height. Crowding can slow flowering, too. If your daffodils don't bloom but put up dozens of leaves, it might be time to dig them up and divide them.

Safe Cuts

Saw safety often comes down to one thing: sharp blades. Whether you are working with a chainsaw or a folding saw, you are much more likely to hurt yourself if the blade is dull. Get in a routine of cleaning and sharpening saws (unless they are serrated) after each use. Serrated blades can be oiled and wiped.

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