Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Coastal and Tropical South

November, 2011
Regional Report

Plant Trees Today

Trees grown in containers can technically be planted any time of the year that you are willing to see to their needs. However, much of the year is stressful to young trees as they become established. Ideal tree planting time is November to February, which gives new roots time to get growing before spring arrives with new growth. Most gardeners pay too little attention to the ultimate height of trees and live to regret it when the tree disappoints. As a general rule, a small tree will be 15 feet tall, while medium means at least 30 feet, and tall can mean 50 feet but may mean 100 feet in good conditions. Know what you are planting for best tree results.

Choose Big Pots

It is important to put a plant in a container that will sustain it for at least a year. But there are more reasons to choose large pots than to accommodate a plant's growing roots. Larger sizes will hold heat longer in the root ball, thus risking less cold damage in winter. Big pots retain water longer than small ones, too, which can lengthen the time between necessary waterings all year round. If you like large containers, add a hand truck or other dolly device to your wish list.

Get Joy From Amaryllis

Once you see an amaryllis shooting up inches overnight and watch the flowers open dramatically on the kitchen table, you will be hooked. The best gift for the person who has everything is always something green and growing, and amaryllis keeps on giving for months, if not years. Grow them first in the pots that come in their kits, and then decide how to continue. You can transplant them to the garden and start a collection that will bloom every year. Or turn the plant on its side to rest for a few weeks until new sprouts show and then put it in a clay pot to start the process over again.

Move Those Bulbs

Flowering bulbs, from daffodils to spider lilies, are great for naturalizing. We plant, enjoy, then almost ignore them for months at a time. Over the course of years, it is common for them to sink too deep to put up flower stalks, and despite healthy foliage, they can have few or no flowers. Dig up the flowerless clumps, separate the bulbs, and replant so the bulbs are no deeper in the soil than twice their length. For example, if the bulb is one inch tall, plant it no deeper than 2 inches in the soil. There is no set schedule for dividing and replanting bulbs, but if there are fewer flowers one year than the previous year, consider it time for this task.

Stay Saw Safe

Just as in the kitchen, more cuts are caused by dull blades than sharp ones. Whether you are working with a chainsaw, pruning saw, or folding saw, it takes less brute force to make a sharp saw work, and thus you are less likely to be injured by forcing the tool. Establish a routine of cleaning and sharpening saws (unless they are serrated) after each use, and keep a bucket of sand handy to plunge blades into between jobs.


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