New to Maryland? Have we got a book for you

gardenq&a

November 08, 2008|By Ellen Nibali and Jon Traunfeld | Ellen Nibali and Jon Traunfeld,Special to The Baltimore Sun

Can you recommend a gardening book specifically for Maryland or this region? We just moved here. Our daughter has lived here for years but didn't know a good book to suggest.

Just in time for holiday giving, a new edition of the University of Maryland's Master Gardener Handbook has arrived with a host of improvements. Nine new chapters include Weeds, Pruning, Invasive Plants, Composting and Wetlands.

This is the book used by University of Maryland Extension to train Maryland master gardeners. The handbook leads you from basic soils, fertilizer and botany through growing vegetables, fruits, lawns and ornamental plants. The 656-page book, which has more than 400 color photos, costs $69. To order, call the 800 number below or go to the Web site home page.

Is it too late in the season to trim a 2-inch-wide branch from my maple tree? I don't want it to bleed.

It's not too late at all. The best time to prune deciduous trees is when they are dormant. You can prune the branch from your tree now. Over the years, research has shown that when a tree "bleeds" sap, the bleeding does not cause serious damage to the tree. Even maple trees, which can bleed copiously, don't suffer serious harm.

Bleeding is more common in late winter-early spring, when the tree is coming out of dormancy.

Ellen Nibali, a horticulture consultant, works at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, and Jon Traunfeld is the director of the Home and Garden Information Center. The center offers free gardening information. Call the center's help line at 800-342-2507 or e-mail plant and pest questions through the Send a Question feature at hgic.umd.edu.

checklist

* Save your fallen leaves. They are nature's mulch and compost.

* Expect some leaf yellowing on houseplants that have been brought indoors from the cold.

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