Plant bare root and containerized fruit trees, blackberries and grapes soon to be well established by spring. Planting now will ensure that the root system will have time to acclimate and establish by the time soil temperatures warm up and reduce chances of transplant shock. Time to transplant established trees and shrubs while they are dormant and can also reestablish a roots system by spring. Remove (prune) one third to one half of top growth to match the loss of roots when transplanting.
Start spring gardens in February such as asparagus, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, collards, onions, radishes, spinach and turnips. Divide summer and Fall-blooming perennials.
Time for major pruning of fruit and ornamental tree and shrubs, prune rubbing, crossing and down-turning branches. It's a good time to prune the bottom branches to raise canopies. Raising canopies will allow sun to get to shaded areas to allow grass or bedding plants to grow. Do not top trees! Prune roses now until late February, March at the latest. Wait to prune
climbers after their spring bloom. Wait to prune early bloomers (Indian hawthorn, flowering peach, climbing roses, etc.) Prune perennials now for lush new growth in the spring. Don't top crape myrtle, gently prune and train it to grow into a small tree - a plant crape myrtle that is adapted to our climate and area.
Fertilize evergreens in mid-to-late February. Use 1-3 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of root area. (one and a half pounds of actual nitrogen is equivalent to 8 pounds of 19-5-9 slow release fertilizer.) Spread evenly across drip zone. Be very conservative. Several warm days in a row might fool some trees to prematurely bud, only to get bitten by a late frost. Wait a couple of more months to fertilize the lawn.
Keep a watchful eye
Wait for temperatures above freezing for at least two days to apply a dormant oil spray to pines, pecans and fruit trees prone to scale. Water during periods of prolonged drought. Freeze damage is more severe on drought-stressed plants. Watch house plants for signs of mealy bugs, spider mites, scales and other pests. Cover freeze-sensitive plants with light weight frost
cloth to lessen winter burn. Time to sharpen and repair garden tools. Keep them clean and ready for spring. With these cold days, stay in and start planning your garden and landscape layout. Start looking through seed catalogs to make sure you
get the varieties you want. If you haven't had a soil test in the last three years, look at having it done.
Give us a call at 575-641-0562 or come by 217 E. Center at the Terry Turner Extension Building.
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