Mid-Atlantic

January, 2011
Regional Report

Assess Storm Damage

Blizzard, snow storm, high winds, icy conditions --alone or in any combination, winter weather has already made its mark on the East Coast. What's happened to your trees and shrubs and roses? Take a stroll and scout for broken or damaged branches. Prune to remove cracked branches that could be hazardous to people and harmful to the woody plant. Prune minimally now. Leave bent and misshapen branches. They may be less damaged than they look and might rebound in spring.

Look Closely at Labels

Recently a friend asked me to find out if a popular pre-emergent product her gardener recommended is "organic." On investigation, yes, one version is corn gluten recommended for vegetable gardens. The other types used for ornamental gardens are not. To identify the ingredients in a gardening product, check the company's website for the Material Safety Data Sheets. The MSDS are federally required to list all the ingredients.

Shop Post-Holiday Sales

Keep your eye out for savings on garden supplies, tools, containers, gloves, all sorts of horticultural high jinks. Make a wish list. Check out catalogs, stores, online sales for after-holiday bargains.

Reapply Deer Repellent

Most deer repellent products wear off after three or four weeks of rain, snow, and ice. Reapply now on susceptible trees and shrubs as a preventative measure before the prior application dissolves completely. Best to discourage deer from the first browse so they don't put your property on their menu. As with any creature of habit, once deer have a nibble, they're likely to return.

Build a Cold Frame

A cold frame can be plain, fancy, or in-between. What cool weather plants do you want to grow or protect? Spinach, bok choy, broccoli, lettuce, chard, collard greens? Decide on a sunny location for the frame, seeds, and plants. Measure the site. Choose a design; the web has many options. Collect or buy the frame materials. On a relatively warm day, construct the frame outdoors.

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