Middle South

December, 2001
Regional Report

Gather Greenery

Raid your shrubs for holiday greenery. Neat bunches of holly or boxwood, set in vases and adorned with ribbon, make great decorations. Put pieces of rampant English ivy to work on your mantel, and don\'t overlook bunches of berries borrowed from nandina, staghorn sumac, and thickets of greenbrier.

Monitor Lawn Weeds


The mild fall weather was kind to cool-season lawn weeds such as chickweed, henbit and dandelion. Pull these invaders out by hand when the soil is moist. If the crowns break off, leave the roots alone for now, because holes you accidentally open up will become open invitations to new winter weed seedlings.

Secure Manure


Give your vegetable garden a gift of manure. Trampled stable manure from grain-fed horses is wonderful, and is well worth its modest cost. Don't worry about working it into wet soil. Simply spread it over the surface, and the manure will form a cushy blanket that doubles as a late winter earthworm haven.

Befriend Birds

Seeds and nuts are becoming scarce now that winter has begun, so it\'s time to set up your bird feeder and keep it well stocked with a variety of seeds. Sunflower seeds are the all-time favorite, but birdseed blends that include other types of seed attract a wider diversity of species.

Bring Out Your Dead


Use pruning shears to cut off dead foliage from peonies, daylilies, and other perennials, and put it in your compost pile. Gather up dead annuals, too, by pulling them up roots and all. Although the debris may appear lifeless, it often hosts overwintering insects and diseases.

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