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Gardening with Ellen March
Gardening with Ellen
Although I’m in Florida, my heart is with you as you suffer through this winter’s deep freezes. We may find this weather intolerable, but I guarantee you that your plants will come back stronger than ever. I know it’s hard to believe, but snow acts as an insulating blanket and actually protects plants from temperature extremes. We may even see fewer summer insects, not due to extreme cold alone (for which they have survival strategies) but because “rollercoaster” temperatures decrease both their survival and reproductive potential. Extreme cold is a fortuitous management tool for invasives, both insect (e.g., pine bark beetle) and plant (e.g., kudzu vine) although not a permanent one.
If any of your plants suffer frost damage, wait for the last frost date in your area and prune off the damaged section using a clean, sharp pruner. (Gardening tools – both for indoor and outdoor plants - should be cleaned after each use in a mild bleach solution of ¼ cup bleach to ½ gal water to prevent the spread of plant diseases.)
Speaking of indoor plants, this is a good time to closely examine them. If you find either mealy bugs or scale, both are easily destroyed using a Q tip dipped in alcohol. For spider mites, use horticultural oil, available at any garden shop.
I leave you with these words: SPRING IS COMING!
Ellen Pell, Master Gardener.