Mid-Atlantic

December, 2013
Regional Report

Enjoy Holiday Displays

Many botanical gardens, arboreta, and parks present fabulous seasonal displays ranging from outdoor lights to miniature trains, and, of course, spectacular poinsettias and other exotic hothouse plants for our enjoyment. Take time to go visit; you'll be glad you did.

Coddle Live Christmas Trees

For successful transplanting outdoors after the holidays, your living tree needs to remain dormant. It should be kept in a cool location, such as an unheated garage, until just a few days before Christmas and should remain in the house for as short a time as possible -- 5 to 7 days at most -- so that it does not break dormancy. While indoors, make sure the soil stays moist. Then plant it outside as soon as possible.

Give the Birds a Drink

Wintering birds appreciate shelter, food, and a reliable -- unfrozen -- water source. You can help by setting out a clean pan of fresh water each day. To offer a continuous supply of fresh water, add a heater to your birdbath. Also remember to clean the container regularly.

Finish Planting Trees and Shrubs

You can still plant trees and shrubs until the ground freezes, but the sooner the better. Follow the usual planting procedures, water to settle the soil, then mulch with several inches of organic mulch, such as bark chips. Apply the mulch in a flat layer over the root area, and don't allow it to touch the trunk or stems.

Pot Up Amaryllis

Place the bulb in a well-drained potting mix, leaving the top third of the bulb above the soil line. Water as needed to keep the soil barely moist, and place in a bright location. Rotate the pot as needed to keep the plant growing straight. Amaryllis do not require pre-chilling.

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