Lower South

January, 2005
Regional Report

Plant Woody Ornamentals

Now is the time to get those woody ornamentals planted. Summer comes quickly in the south, with its blistering hot weather that puts a strain on a new plant's developing root system. The earlier you get them planted, the more time they have to settle in and start to establish a root system before the onset of hot weather.

Plant Cool-Season Veggies

We can continue to plant cole crops, such as broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, and collards. Other veggies to plant include radishes, carrots, lettuce, spinach, and turnips. Protect tender seedlings from a hard freeze with a sheet or row cover fabric. Growing these plants under a lightweight row cover during winter months will speed up growth and increase production.

Sow Seeds Indoors

Sow warm-season annual flower and vegetables seeds in mid to late January for March transplanting out into the garden. This will give you a head start on the spring garden and save money on transplants. Place trays in a warm location, such as the top of a refrigerator, for rapid germination. When seedlings emerge, move them near a bright window.

Prune Ornamental Trees and Shrubs Wisely

Prune with a purpose, not because there\'s nothing else to do in the winter. Use sharp tools and make cuts close and clean for rapid healing. The most rapid wound healing occurs in spring and early summer. Learn the proper form for the species you are pruning. Too many gardeners needlessly butcher their plants, resulting in unsightly shrubs and trees with weak branches.

Choose Smaller Bare-Root Plants

When buying plants, the biggest is not always the best, especially when dealing with bare-root fruit trees. The small to medium sizes are usually less expensive and often establish faster since their relative loss of roots is not as great as larger bare-root plants.

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