Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southern Coasts

December, 2003
Regional Report

Recyle Trees and Greens

Pick from several methods, but put those decorations to use outdoors after the holidays. Coastal erosion and wildlife habitat projects offer dropoff points, and municipalities may chip them into mulch. Strip off the ribbons, add apples covered in peanut butter, and hang that wreath outside for the birds.

Avoid Citrus Troubles

Lemon, satsuma, and other citrus trees in pots make great sunroom plants in winter. Avoid trouble by keeping an eye out for common pests like sticky, white mealybugs, pinhead-sized aphids, and hard round scales. Use alcohol or insecticidal soap plus physical controls, and prune off damaged stems.

Clean Perennial Beds

Clean up the perennial bed and get ready for spring. Cut down lantana, buddleia, and cannas that have browned, cut up the leaves and stems and compost them with one mowing's worth of ryegrass from the lawn. Check mulch: no more than 2 inches up close, and none directly on the crown.

Prepare for Tree Planting

Any day you can dig the soil without it sticking to the shovel is a fine day to plant a tree. Water trees well the day before planting, dig a hole wider and slightly deeper than the rootball. Mix the native soil with one-quarter by volume organic matter to improve it. Water and mulch after planting.

Sharpen Those Shears

Take time now to get pruners, shears, and saws ready. Sharp blades make clean cuts, but most important, sharper is safer. Use a small file and stroke away from you and with the edge on the tool. With sewing machine or light vegetable oil, lubricate the tool and wipe dry with a rag.


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