Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Lower South

December, 2000
Regional Report

Bring in the Berries

Cut branches of berry-producing plants such as yaupon and possumhaw hollies to brighten an indoor arrangement. But keep in mind that yaupon holly berries are poisonous. They should be avoided if small children are around. Other berry good choices for brightening a winter day in the lower south include standard nandina, pyracantha, and several other species of holly.

Caring for Holiday Plants

To keep poinsettias and holiday cactus beautiful beyond the holidays, maintain the soil moisture and provide them with bright light. Remove the plastic or foil pot wrap, drench the soil with water, allow it to drain well, then replace the pot wrapping. Keep the plants out of drafts but in a cool room, and they should provide more than a month or two of beauty.

Recycle Christmas Trees

Many communities now offer Christmas tree recycling. Some chip the trees to make mulch for use in city parks and other public areas. Others tie weights to the trees and drop them in area lakes for fish habitat. Whatever the use, recycling these trees is a great idea. Call your County Extension Office or local nursery for information on tree recycling in your area.

Grow Salads

Here in the South we can grow many salad vegetables all winter. Plant lettuce in small sections every 2 weeks to keep you in fresh salads all winter. Other winter greens include spinach, arugula, kale, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, green onions, and Swiss chard. Give these cool-weather veggies a cover on a bitter cold night and they'll keep going all winter.

Rake Fallen Leaves

Our southern turf grasses slow their growth in cool temperatures but don't go dormant. Whenever we have a few warm days, they become more active, producing carbohydrates for better hardiness and stronger spring growth. Fallen leaves shade the turf and can stress it. Rake them up for mulch or shred them with a mulching mower to recycle them into the turf.


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