Lower South

January, 2006
Regional Report

Train Climbing Roses

Climbing roses should be trained but not pruned. Weave long canes through openings in trellises or arbors, and tie them with jute twine or plastic/wire plant ties. Securing canes now prevents damage from winter winds and contributes toward a more refined look to the garden when roses are blooming. Wait until after the spring flowering period to prune climbing or once-blooming shrub roses.

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 fabric during winter months will speed up growth and increase production.

Prune 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.

Fertilize Vegetables

A little extra winter feeding will help keep vegetables vigorous and productive. In the cool months, nutrients may not be as available as they will be after the soil warms up. Feed plants every four to six weeks with a light dose of 3-1-2 fertilizer. The extra nitrogen is important in the winter garden.

Prune Shrubs

When pruning shrubs, first prune out any dead or damaged branches; then thin out by removing about one-third of the canes or stems at ground level, removing the oldest canes only. Then shape the rest of the plant, but don't cut everything back to the same height. This helps to maintain a natural appearance.

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