Coastal and Tropical South

November, 2012
Regional Report

Protect Water Features from Falling Leaves

Leaves falling into a swimming pool can create a daily skimming chore, but a regular use of a pool cover do away with this task. Leaves that fall into garden water features, however, create more organic matter than the water can handle. They fill the pond, give you muck to deal with, and damage submerged plants. A simple solution is to cut window screen to fit over the feature and anchor it with rocks or bricks, depending on the style of your pond.

Remove Tree Stakes

In areas of prevailing wind, it is common to stake trees at planting time to avoid permanent leaning. If those stakes have been in place more than one year, it is time to remove at least some of them. A tree needs to move naturally in the wind in order to develop a strong trunk. Trees that are left staked too long develop weak trunks that are susceptible to breakage later in life.

Root More Canes

Angel trumpets and confederate rose are some of the cane-stemmed plants that have been part of rural cottage gardens for ages. These days there are more available than ever and they have found friends in gardens plain and fancy. Cut down the canes before they wither up but after some of the leaves turn brown. Make more plants by rooting the canes in water over the winter.

Protect Lettuce

Leafy greens grow most all winter in our region, but icy cold rain can water the taste out of the leaves. Set up a wire frame now, either hoops or a flexible wire cage to give you a support structure in case a plastic drape is needed in the coming months. If you need shade to keep greens tasty, use the frame to support window screen.

Repot Container Plants

Now is the time to check container plants and determine which are candidates for repotting this month. For example, if a pot is too small for its plant, it tips over and likely has too little soil space, too. Likewise, one that has roots growing out of its drain hole has gotten too crowded to grow its best. Of course, if roots have cracked the pot or are growing out of the top of the soil, take action.

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