Middle South

January, 2010
Regional Report

Fork Away Weeds

If you have cool-season plant pests such as henbit or chickweed nestling too close to pansies, violas, snapdragons, poppies, and larkspur, use a fork to remove them quickly and efficiently. Simply slip the fork under the weed and twist the tines around the stems while pulling the offender away from the desirable plant.

Water Houseplants With Care

The number one cause of death for houseplants is overwatering. Guess what's number two? Underwatering! While there are some exceptions, the soil of most houseplants should be moistened when the top inch becomes dry. Use water that is lukewarm or room temperature, then drain throughly before returning the plants to their ornamental containers.

Add Organic Material to Beds

Most Middle South soils contain much less than the recommended 5 percent of organic matter. Use warm days between now and the end of February to add leaf mold and/or shredded leaves to garden beds, and to work them into the top 6 inches of soil. If you prefer to amend beds with finished compost, wait until March or April, adding the compost just weeks or days before planting.

Ready Strawberry Plants

Depending on the severity of winter, you may be able to prep established strawberry plants for their productive season by the end of January or shortly thereafter. First, weed the bed and then feed the plants lightly with a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer. If mulch has thinned, also add extra straw or pine needles.

Clean Around Camellias

Clean away spent camellia blooms as they fall, reducing the chance of flower blight. If the fungus does appear, sanitation is the best control. Remove and destroy all infected flowers and buds, and replace all mulch.

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