University of Marland Extension: Garden Q&A
Q: Our newly planted tree is very top heavy. It’s so tall that we can’t stake it that high up. How can we keep it from snapping at the first heavy ice or snow?
A: Lash a long (lightweight) stake along the trunk and up the leader branch of the tree to help support the top growth. Although new trees need all the foliage they can get, you could lightly and judiciously thin the top growth to reduce weight. See our online pruning publication for tips: http://www.hgic.umd.edu/content/documents/HG84Pruningornamentalplants_000.pdf
Q: My mother’s cyclamen houseplant did beautifully for years. Last week the leaves lost their color almost overnight, turning pale yellow. Some of the new leaves coming up in the center of the plant are still green, but what happened?
A: Your mother has been fortunate to have her cyclamen so long. These tuberous-rooted plants are usually treated as temporary houseplants and discarded after flowering. It is difficult to get them to reflower. Being a tuberous plant, they need a rest period. After the cyclamen stops blooming, gradually reduce the amount of water. Wait for the foliage to die back, then store the pot in a cool (45 to 50 degrees F.), dark spot for 3-4 months. Then return it to warmer temperatures and begin to water again. New growth will appear. Your mother should decrease watering to begin the dormant period now.