Winter Garden Prep

Dormant Season Ending!  Now is the last chance for bareroot planting, dormant pruning and spraying! Finish these tasks by mid-month.

Don’t miss the most important spray to prevent peach leaf curl on nectarines and peaches. Spray with lime sulfur or fixed copper when buds begin to swell but before they show color — about mid-month. Copper sprays must contain 50% fixed copper. Do not use lime sulfur on apricots.       If fireblight has been a problem on your pear trees, including evergreen pears, spray while the tree is in blossom with copper or agricultural grade streptomycin.

Spray weekly when the weather is warm and humid. Warm means an average daily temperature of over 60 degrees. Add the high and the low for the day and divide by two to get the average temperature for the day.      Weed Prevention  If you have had problems with crabgrass or spotted spurge in the past, apply a fertilizer that contains a pre-emergence herbicide (weed preventer) in mid-February. Crabgrass begins to germinate by the end of the month. These weeds are not problems until summer, but you need to act now if you want to prevent them from growing at all. Pendamethalin prevents oxalis and spotted spurge as well as crabgrass. Dacthal is also effective against a wide range of summer weeds.

Gallery prevents crabgrass and many broadleaf weeds.   Cool and wet weather encourages red thread, a fungus disease, in lawns. This disease will show up as small (3 to 5 inch) brown spots in your lawn. Look closely at the tips of the blades to see the red color. Prevent or treat red thread by applying a high nitrogen fertilizer. Bluegrass lawns are especially susceptible.   Spot spray dandelions in lawns with a broadleaf weed killer. Only the most severe infestation of weeds require a weed and feed product, which applies chemicals over the entire lawn rather than on just the weeds themselves.      Plant Bulbs and Seeds  Plant bulbs for late spring and summer — glads, lilies, iris, cannas, callas, anemones, ranunculus, tuberous begonias. Plant crowns of strawberries, rhubarb, asparagus and artichokes. Begin planting gladiolus corms now; they will bloom in 10 weeks. Plant them 6 inches deep and 6 inches apart. Plant every two weeks in March and April also to space out the blooming. Thrips attack leaves and flowers, especially during the hot summer months. Be sure to get started planting now.  In the greenhouse or under lights, plant seeds of spring flowers and vegetables — stock, calendulas, sweet Williams, lettuce, cole crops, root crops, parsley, onions.  If rains are light, be sure to water as deciduous trees put out new leaves and blossoms.

Cut back fuchsias and hydrangeas. To make hydrangeas blue, give them a monthly application of aluminum sulfate.      Flowers for February  Vines:   Hardenbergia violacea is sold as Coral Pea. It belongs to the Pea Family, Legumimosae, and is native to Australia. Adapted to USDA Zones 9 and 10. Give it sunlight, a well drained soil, and regular watering. It blooms profusely in February. Prune after flowering. Train as a vine or prune as a mounded shrub. Also does well in containers.