Coastal and Tropical South

January, 2005
Regional Report

Time to Prune

Get ready to prune muscadines, wisteria, and figs this month. Cut back vines to keep them on the trellis, then clip the sideshoots along the main canes to 2 inches for more flowers and fruit. Cut back figs by as much as half, if needed, to reach the fruit and open the canopy.

Bulb Check

Check bulbs this month, both those in the ground and any you\'re storing. Fertilize red spider lily clumps while they\'re still visible, and newly emerged daffodils, snow drops, and other Dutch bulbs. Check the mulch around lilies, callas, and white spider lilies. If stored bulbs have gone mushy, discard them.

Dig Weed Barriers

Take advantage of wet soil! Where lawn grass creeps into the flower bed, a small ditch (4 inches deep and wide) can be the solution. Sharpen your shovel and slice into the edge of the lawn at an angle. Slice the other side to match if needed to lift out the wedge.

Planting Fruit

Loquat, pineapple guava, fig, paw paw -- you name it, you can plant it this month while the new, fresh stock is available at garden centers. Prepare a well-drained soil on a sunny site and plan to water regularly and fertilize two or three times in the first seasons.

Hold the Shears

After freezing temperatures and winter precipitation, it's tempting to cut off everything that looks ruined. That's fine for elephant ears and other herbaceous (green-stemmed) plants. But hold off on pruning woody plants unless they're a hazard. The damage may turn out not to be a problem.

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