Spring is on the way, or is it?

Don’t be fooled by a few warmer days this time of year.  Winter has not finished with us yet.  Though your garden may be dormant, there are still plenty of things to keep you busy until spring truly arrives.  See if you can get all of this completed this month.

TURF

If you haven’t already done so, apply lime to your turf based on the soil tests you conducted last month.  A 40 lb bag of lime will typically cover 2,000 square feet; but always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendation on the label.  This is also a great time to check your spreader for broken parts and perform preventative maintenance.  Always clean the bin and gear head after each application.  Residue build up from fertilizer will only cause you headaches down the road.  Rinse the spreader with a garden hose and let it dry.  Grease all fittings and bearings.  A pre-emergent weed control should be applied to fescue turf when the soil temperature consistently reaches 55-58 degrees.  Historically this is the end of February.  Go ahead and purchase the amount you need and have it on hand.  We will be using a 18-0-10 fertilizer with Dimension this year.  Refer to the label for application rates.  If you are interested in receiving a free estimate for our Full Service Maintenance Program please contact us at info@barringerlandscape.com

PRUNING

Don’t be accused of CRAPE MURDER!

Unfortunately too many people in our area have committed this dreadful crime and do not even realize their infraction.  You have probably seen the result of this offense in your neighborhood.  Crape myrtles do not need to be pruned for improved flowering.  The practice of topping crape myrtles is a detriment to the plant and Extension horticulturists strongly recommend against topping plants.  It is beneficial to remove any sprouts at the base, and keep the plant at three to five trunks.  To increase light reception throughout the plant, remove some of the inner branches.  To maintain bloom all summer and into the fall, trim off flower heads as the flowers fade.  Let crepe myrtles grow to their natural height. If you are guilty of the crime and your crepe myrtles reflect it check with us for help at info@barringerlandscape.com and will instruct you on ways to repair the damage.

Pruning is often puzzling to many gardeners.  Some plants bloom on old wood and some on new wood, and it is important to know the difference.  Here is a guide for what to do now and what to do later this spring:

  • Spring Flowering Woody Plants
    Azaleas and forsythias both bloom on old wood in the spring which means they develop flower buds in the summer before they bloom. Though some people think this is the time of year to prune, it clearly is not.  If you prune spring-flowering plants now, you will lose flowers.  The time to prune these plants and other spring-flowering plants is after they have bloomed and the flowers are faded.
  • Shaping Spring-Flowering Plants
    Shaping spring-flowering plants in February and early spring will not harm them, even though you will lose some flowers.  To shape azaleas, prune vigorous shoots back to the average height of the plant.  Let forythias grow to their natural height and weeping form.  On mature plants only, thin out one-third of the older canes to the ground to open up the plant.
  • Summer Flowering Woody Plants
    Summer flowering plants such as the butterfly bush bloom on new wood, which means they will not develop flower buds until they have put out new leaves.  However, you don’t want to prune in the fall because pruning activates new growth that could become damaged by the cold.  The best time to prune these plants is late February or early March.

For specific pruning questions please contact us at info@barringerlandscape.com