Lower South

December, 2010
Regional Report

Keep Holiday Plants Attractive

The poinsettia, cyclamen, Christmas cactus or topiary rosemary you purchased to add a festive pizazz to your home can be kept in top condition with proper care. Maintain moderate soil moisture, but avoid the soggy conditions that can happen when the decorative foil or plastic around the pot is not removed for watering. When plants are not on display for visitors or a holiday party, place them in as much light as you can inside your home. A bright outdoor shade during the day is even better. Just don't leave them out overnight or when daytime temps are below 50 degrees.

Water Garden Beds As Needed

Late fall and winter in the Lower South usually brings enough rain to keep the soil adequately moist to avoid drought stress to our garden plants. However in some parts of the Lower South, this has been an unusually dry fall and early winter season. Check your soil and be ready to water as needed to ensure good vigor and productivity.

Fertilize Cool Season Annuals

A boost of soluble fertilizer every 4 to 6 weeks will help maintain good vigor and plant health. This enables the plants to produce more blooms for months to come. Follow label instructions for a light to moderate application when you fertilize.

Order Seeds Early

Seed catalogs arrive early, providing us with inspiration during the winter months. Here in the Lower South we will soon be starting our transplants for the spring garden. If you plan on ordering seeds by mail, get your orders in soon while availability is good and so seeds arrive in plenty of time for planting.

Sharpen Pruning Tools

Pruning season is coming soon. Now is a good time to get those hand pruners and loppers out to sharpen them. Oil the tools to keep them moving smoothly. If there is rust on a tool remove it with a wire brush and/or steel wool, and then apply oil to the area to prevent further damage to your tools.

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