Mid-Atlantic

December, 2011
Regional Report

Take Stock of Your Veggie Garden

What would make next season's vegetable gardening easier, more productive, more fun? While pulling out dead stalks and rampant weeds, think about improvements, changes you'd like to make. I'm planning raised beds for ease and tidiness, a cool design for copper strips to dissuade the slugs who devoured my bok choy, kale, and lettuces.

Check Under Tree Guards and Gators

Tree guards protect tree bark. Tree Gators make it more convenient to water newly transplanted trees. Both wrap around a tree trunk. Insects like the moist, dark space between the tree bark and the devices's plastic. Insects living and eating under there can seriously damage a tree. Remove the guards and gators. Examine the tree for rot, boring, moisture, damage of any kind. Evaluate whether or not the tree still benefits from the device.

Remove Tree Gators For Winter

Tree Gators are reservoirs that make watering newly planted and young trees more convenient. They wrap around the trunk or lay on the soil. We fill them with water, which seeps out slowly through holes at the bottom. Remove them for winter so rain and snow can directly reach the soil.

Check Arbor Ties

If you planted and staked a tree this spring, check the ties. The tree (we hope) has grown during spring and summer. By now, the ties may be too tight, touching or girdling the bark. If that's so, remove them.

Pull Out Over-Enthusiastic Ground Cover

While the soil's moist and the pulling is easy, remove ground cover that's crowding perennials and shrubs and creeping into tree pits. Vinca, pachysandra, creeping Jenny, English ivy, lily-of-the-valley have pushed beyond their boundaries in several gardens I tend. When removing dead leaves and clipping back dead stems, I'm pulling out encroaching ground cover, roots and all. The more done now, the less work come spring.

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