Lower South

February, 2008
Regional Report

Plant Woody Ornamentals Now

Late winter is a great time to plant new trees, shrubs, and woody vines. By setting them out now, they'll have time to settle in and start developing a good root system before the demands of hot weather arrive. It is now nearing the end of bare-root planting season, but container grown plants may be planted year-round.

Start Warm-Season Flowers and Vegetable Transplants

There is still time to start seeds of warm-season flowers and vegetables indoors for transplanting outdoors in March. Set the seedling trays on top of the refrigerator to provide warmth to speed germination. When seedlings emerge, move them to a bright window or place them a couple of inches below a fluorescent light fixture to prevent spindly growth.

Time for Taters

Plant potatoes (Irish and "new" potatoes) now so they'll have time to produce tubers before the arrival of hot weather shuts down the plants. Cut the seed potatoes into sections with an eye or bud on each section. Place in a warm spot for a few days to allow the cut surfaces to dry prior to planting.

Plant Gladiolus Bulbs

Now is the time to begin planting gladiolus bulbs. Space planting dates at two-week intervals to extend the flower season into the summer. Gladiolus come in many beautiful colors and sizes and make outstanding cut flowers. Provide some type of support for the long bloom stalks to prevent a spring storm from laying them over.

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 do not cut everything back to the same height. This helps to maintain a natural appearance.

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