Upper South

March, 2006
Regional Report

Divide Snowdrops

The nodding, milky white flowers of snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) are among the earliest bulbs to bloom and also one of the hardiest. Growing only 4 to 6 inches tall, they are great when planted in shrub borders or at the base of trees. Although best left undisturbed for years, if snowdrops become overcrowded and show signs of decline, or if you want to spread them around the garden, dig them up right after flowering and replant immediately before the bulbs dry out.

Plant Peas

Like all homegrown vegetables, fresh peas are so much better than anything you can buy at the grocery. Planting early gives peas plenty of time to produce before hot weather. Be sure to provide support, even with the dwarf varieties. For traditional green pea varieties, try 'Maestro', 'Mr. Big', or 'Green Arrow', plus 'Waverex' baby peas.

'Sugar Daddy' is a stringless sugar snap pea, Among edible-podded snow pea varieties, 'Golden Sweet' has golden pods. The variety 'Sandy' is grown for its many edible tendrils.

Apply Horticultural Oil

Apply horticultural oil spray to pears just as the buds begin to swell and then again ten days later to control pear psylla and pear leaf blister mite. To control European red mite, aphids, and San Jose scale, spray apple trees once, when a 1/2 inch of green tissue is visible in developing buds. Horticultural oil sprays also can be used to treat ornamentals, such as mugo pines and euonymus, for scale.

Cut Back Ornamental Grasses and Shrubs

Remove last year's growth from ornamental grasses, liriope, and sub-shrubs, such as buddleia and caryopteris, as well as shrubs with colorful stems, such as kerria and red osier and Tartarian dogwoods. For large grasses, such as miscanthus and panicum, a chain saw is often the most effective tool. For other plants, use well-sharpened pruning shears or loppers.

Use Antidessicant Spray

Although antidessicant sprays are usually thought of for protecting broad-leaved evergreens in winter, they also are useful when transplanting. If you're planting evergreen or leafed-out trees and shrubs this spring, especially if the weather is warm and dry, spray the foliage with an antidessicant spray. This will help keep the foliage from drying out while the roots are getting established.

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