Mid-Atlantic

December, 2000
Regional Report

Live Christmas Tree Tips


If you bought a live Christmas tree this year, be sure to dig the hole before the ground freezes. Keep your live tree in an unheated but protected location (such as a garage) and bring it indoors for only a week. Plant it immediately after the holidays, and use warm water to settle the soil around the roots.

Winter Landscape Color

If your landscape looks dull and gray this winter, consider adding woody plants with attractive and colorful branches or bark. Some good choices for winter color include shrub dogwoods with red or golden yellow twigs, the shaggy-barked paperbark maple, and river birch. Take time to visit a nearby arboretum or display garden to examine the possibilities.

Humidify Houseplants

Most houseplants crave humidity during the winter heating season. Make a simple humidifier by filling a shallow tray with pebbles and adding water to just below the top of the pebbles. (A bit of household bleach reduces algae growth.) Set plant pots on the pebbles and maintain the water level as needed. Group the plants to create a humid corner.

Protect Winter Pathways


Walking on a dormant or frozen lawn may damage or even kill the grass. Rope off lawn areas and avoid them if possible. If you find yourself, your family, or visitors wearing a path across a certain lawn area, consider constructing a brick or stone path there next spring.

Control Houseplant Pests


Houseplants such as ficus and hibiscus become magnets for houseplant pests such as scale and spider mites this time of year. Check plants weekly and if you see signs of these or other pests, spray with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. Repeat as necessary.

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