Plant trees now? It all depends

Garden Q&a

December 30, 2006|By Jon Traunfeld and Ellen Nibali

My brother gave us two apple trees as a gift. What do we do with them until spring?

As long as the ground is not frozen, you can plant them as you normally would. (Read our free publication Planting Tips for Trees.) When the ground is frozen, you must temporarily heel in trees. Lay them at a 45-degree angle and cover the root ball or container with a thick layer of soil, compost or mulch to protect the roots from freezing or drying out. (Winter air temperatures get much colder than the relatively steady temperatures of soil that in-ground roots can withstand.) In the spring, you can plant the trees in their permanent location.

Do I need to do anything with my strawberry plants over the winter?

Soil freezing and thawing can heave the tender crowns of strawberry plants out of the soil. They need a mulch of straw to protect them over the winter. Wait to do this until the soil freezes, so that plants have time to harden off properly. The mulch will do double duty by preventing weeds next spring and summer.


Remove bagworm bags from evergreen trees and shrubs. Put them in the trash or in a bucket of soapy water.

Insufficient light will cause a jade plant to lose older leaves and produce new growth that is weak and thin. Jade plants look their best when grown in as much direct sunlight as possible.

Jon Traunfeld, regional specialist, and Ellen Nibali, horticulture consultant, work at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center. 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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