Move that black widow to safe shelter

GARDEN Q & A

November 25, 2006|By Jon Traunfeld and Ellen Nibali | Jon Traunfeld and Ellen Nibali,Special to The Sun

I found a black widow spider complete with egg sacs outside our office. I don't want to destroy her, but where can I send her? Eventually she'll seek warmth, which maybe means trying to move inside.

You are the first to contact us with the desire to save a black widow. Don't be concerned about this shy native spider's ability to tolerate cold. Transport her to a sheltered side (south) of an object, such as a stump, rock, bridge - but wear gloves.

What is the best winter protection for roses permanently in containers?

First, follow the outdoor container-plant rule of thumb: Select varieties hardy to two zones colder than your plant-hardiness zone. (Maryland is either 6 or 7.) This is because air temperatures get much colder than soil temperatures, so roots above ground level are easily damaged.

For further protection, move your roses to a more sheltered location, drop the containers in the ground and mulch heavily, or wrap the container with bubble wrap. During unusual cold snaps, containers can be moved into a garage temporarily.

Checklist

Clean and sand the rust off garden tools, sharpen edge tools and rub linseed oil into wooden handles.

Cut down spent chrysanthemum plants to the ground. Prune out and compost the dead stalks and leaves of peonies, hollyhocks and other perennials.

Jon Traunfeld, regional specialist, and Ellen Nibali, horticulture consultant, work at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, which offers Maryland residents free gardening information. Call the center's "hotline" at 800-342-2507 (8 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday through Friday) or e-mail plant and pest questions through the Send a Question feature at hgic.umd.edu.

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