New England

January, 2001
Regional Report

Check Plants for Whiteflies


Houseplants such as hibiscus and geraniums (Pelargonium) can be great candidates for whiteflies. Whitefly adults are small white flies that often fly around when a plant is moved. The immature forms live on the undersides of leaves sucking the plant's juices. If left unchecked, they can cause leaf dieback. Spray plants with an insecticidal soap to control them.

Propagate Geraniums

Geraniums that you brought indoors this winter are probably getting tall and leggy by now if they\\\'re not growing under artificial grow lights. Prune back errant branches and take 4- to 6-inch cuttings to root. Strip off the bottom set of leaves, dip the cut end in rooting hormone powder, and stick the cuttings in a pot filled with moistened potting soil. Keep the soil moist, and they should root in a few weeks.

Check Tree Guards


Check guards around trees for any signs of mice, vole, or rabbit damage. Sometimes with a deep snow cover animals can reach above the guards to nibble on tree bark. Pack the snow down around trees so the guards will remain effective.

Order Fruit Trees


Now is the time to order bare-root fruit trees online or through catalogs. Bare-root trees are shipped in late winter or early spring before they start to grow. You'll get a better selection from a mail-order company now than from your local garden center in spring. Trees will be shipped for planting time in your area, and they should be planted immediately upon arrival.

Check Overwintering Root Crops

Potatoes, onions, carrots, turnips, and other root crops that you have stored in your basement or root cellar should be checked regularly for signs of decay. Any vegetables that show any rotting should be removed and eaten (if possible) immediately so they don\'t spread the disease to other vegetables.

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