Last-minute chores

first_imgBy Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaSpring has “sprung.” But if you hurry, you can still work inthose last-minute winter gardening chores.”This is the last call for many winter garden jobs,” said WillieChance, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent inHouston County. “Try to do these chores as soon as possible,before your plants really start growing.”These “winter” gardening chores include controlling pests,fertilizing plants and even transplanting. Check for scale insects”Now is the time to control scale insects on branches of shrubsand trees,” Chance said.Check for overwintering infestations of scale insects onevergreen plants like camellias, cleyeras and hollies. If youfind them, he recommends using a dormant oil spray. However, ifyour plants have begun to bud or leaf out, he said, use otherinsecticides for control.Mulching isn’t just a winter-preparation chore. Chance recommendsadding a 3- to 4-inch layer now to control weeds and keep thesoil moist. Add mulch to fruit, vegetable, shrub and floweringplants.”There are many sources of free or inexpensive mulch,” he said.”So you have no reason not to mulch.” Prune and transplantPrune crape myrtles, chaste trees (Vitex), hollies, roses andother summer-blooming shrubs as soon as possible. Many othershrubs can be pruned now, too.Wait until spring-flowering plants, such as azaleas, camellias,forsythias, quince and spireas, have finished blooming beforepruning them. And even then, you shouldn’t shear these plants, hesaid. Selectively remove branches to maintain the beauty andshape of the plants.”Prune trees as little as possible,” Chance said. “Don’t givethem an overall shearing. This can ruin their shape. Instead,remove individual branches completely back to where they’reattached to the main branch.”If you have nandinas in your landscape, you know they grow likebamboo, with long canes and leaves at the tops of the branches.Chance suggests pruning nandinas by cutting one-third of thecanes at one-third of the plant’s height. Prune another third attwo-thirds of its height, and leave one-third alone.”This should make the plant bushy,” he said. “Mahonia and Aucubacan also be pruned this way.”You can still transplant trees and shrubs, Chance said. But do itas soon as possible. “Fall is best time to transplant, but now isOK, too,” he said. “The later you wait, the lower their chance ofsurvival.”For more information on these and other lawn, landscape andgarden topics, contact your local UGA Cooperative Extensionoffice at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.center_img Fertilize and trimFertilize pecan trees now with a fertilizer containing zinc.”Pecans require zinc to make their leaves stronger and to help inkernel development,” he said.If you use 10-10-10 fertilizer, apply 1 pound to new trees and 4pounds per inch of trunk diameter (at chest height) to oldertrees. Spread it evenly around the tree, well beyond the dripline, or the point to which the branches reach.Fertilize bulbs, too, as soon as they come up. After they bloom,let the foliage die back naturally.”This allows the bulb to store energy for next year’s blooms,”Chance said. “If you want to move bulbs, mark where they’regrowing and then transplant them after the foliage dies back.”If your landscape includes liriope, remove the old foliage. “Youcan use a mower set on the highest setting or a weed eater,”Chance said. “Cutting liriope back removes the old, ugly andblighted leaves.”Removed the old foliage before new growth starts. To check fornew growth, look in the center of the plant for new leaves.If your landscape includes mondo grass, also known as dwarf lilyturf or monkey grass, don’t mow it. “Sheared mondo grass foliagedoesn’t grow back as well as liriope foliage,” Chance said.last_img