Southern Coasts

February, 2004
Regional Report

Prune Roses

It's time to prune roses, except the once-bloomers and climbers. In all cases, cut out any dead or twiggy growth, then look at what's left. For hybrid teas, leave three strong canes at 24 inches tall. For garden roses (antiques, etc.), cut the whole plant back by half.

Encouraging More Blooms

Pansies, snapdragons, petunias – if it's in bloom and gets pounded by the rain, give the plant a day to recover. If it doesn't, clip off the damaged flowers to encourage more blooms. In wet weather, fertilize these annuals every other week for more flowers.

Liming Lawns

Lime neutralizes acid soil and can help promote healthier growing conditions for lawn grasses. When a soil test indicates, or if you've never limed at all, give the lawn a boost by applying a pelletized lime fertilizer to "sweeten" the soil. Use a spreader for easier application.

Tend the Compost Pile

The leaf pile or compost heap can use some help in very dry or very wet weather. Usually it's only necessary to turn the pile to get some air in, but very dry composts may need a sprinkle. Conversely, very wet piles can be spread out for a day or two, then piled up again.

Minimize the Peat Moss

In building new garden beds, all the advice says to add organic matter – compost, leaf mold, stable shavings, ground bark – but what about peat moss? It is an excellent soil amendment, but in small amounts only! Use no more than one-fourth peat in any organic matter combination.

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