There's still life in peace lily


December 16, 2006|By Jon Traunfeld and Ellen Nibali | Jon Traunfeld and Ellen Nibali,Special to The Sun

The leaves of my peace lily are turning brown fast -- only on the edges, though. Is it dying?

Peace lilies are sensitive to salt. Leaf-edge browning can indicate a buildup of fertilizer salts. (Yes, synthetic fertilizers are salts.) Put the pot in the sink and drench the potting soils with water two or three time to dissolve out salt residue. In a pot without a drainage hole, repot your plant with new soil in a pot with a drainage hole. Water from a water softener also contains some salt. If you have a water softener, switch to purchased water or use water from an unsoftened source.

A huge raccoon rushed about 40 feet up our tree, fell and died! The state didn't suspect rabies and said to double bag and dispose of it (wearing gloves, of course). But what happened to it? I know it was obese from eating our bird food.

This may be an example of killing with kindness. Animals do take a misstep sometimes, and the raccoon's extreme weight may have made it unwieldy -- a fatal combo. A raccoon-proof birdfeeder and pepper-laced suet may be called for.


Check your cut Christmas tree every day to see whether it needs water.

Do not handle the hairy poison ivy vines wrapped around trees. However, this is a good time to sever poison ivy vines at ground level. Be careful not to bring firewood into the house with poison ivy vines attached.

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-Friday) or e-mail plant and pest questions through the Send a Question feature at

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