Now that the holidays are over, can I put my new Norfolk pine outdoors?
The common name Norfolk Island pine gives you a good clue to what you have - a tropical native of the south Pacific's Norfolk Island and Australia - not Norfolk, Va. In cold weather, keep it indoors in medium light. Slow-growing Araucaria heterophylla only needs repotting every four years or so. Keep thoroughly moist during active growth from spring to fall. In winter, let the top inch of soil dry out between waterings, and never let it stand in water. You can put it outside for the summer.
Are evergreen branches/roping (holiday decoration leftovers) good for putting into a backyard compost bin?
Chopped into small pieces, fine branches can be composted but will take longer than needles to decompose.
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. E-mail plant and pest questions to hgic.umd.edu.