Middle South

November, 2000
Regional Report

Finish Planting Bulbs


You can still plant tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and other spring-flowering bulbs. Don't bother to chill them first, but do get moving, because bulbs planted after mid-December may not have enough time to develop extensive roots before they feel the urge to start blooming in the spring.

Plant Cypress Trees


Leyland cypress (Cupressocyparis leylandii) is a great evergreen tree that grows in any soil with good drainage and full sun. Plus, if you buy the tree now, it can double as an outdoor Christmas tree. Before you plant your pot-grown tree, station it on your porch and decorate it with lights and ribbons for the holidays. Water as needed to keep the roots lightly moist at all times and plant immediately after the holidays.

Mulch Carrots

Dig any carrots you want to eat, because those left in the ground much longer will develop a corky texture after the soil freezes a few times. However, overwintered carrots will produce beautiful blossoms in spring that make great cut flowers. Mulch over the carrot tops to hide them from rabbits, deer, and other hungry animals.

Check Soil pH

Buy an inexpensive pH test kit and spend a few minutes checking your soil\'s acidity. Apply lime as needed to raise the pH of acidic soil where you grow vegetables, roses, and other plants to between 6.5 and 7.0, in which they will thrive. Don\'t lime azaleas, blueberries, or other plants that need acidic soil of around 5.0.

Water Your Leaf Pile


If you've collected a big compost bin full of leaves, you can speed up their decomposition by wetting them down frequently. Tannins and other compounds must leach out of leaves before fungi can move in and break them down into organic matter. A well-leached leaf pile will start rotting fast when temperatures warm in spring.

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