Lower South

February, 2009
Regional Report

Check Junipers for Bagworm Pouches

These pests overwinter as eggs in the pouch, and start the cycle again by emerging in the spring to begin feeding on the foliage. Hand remove and destroy the pouches to reduce the potential damage in the spring. B.t sprays are another effective low-toxicity control option later in spring when the caterpillars are hatched out and feeding on the foliage.

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.

Prune Fruit and Nut Trees

Late winter is the time to prune fruit and nut trees. The most rapid wound healing occurs in spring and early summer. Therefore pruning cuts made now with clean, sharp pruning tools will heal rapidly with the onset of spring growth. Your County or Parish Extension Office has free information on proper pruning for various fruit and nut tree species.

Prepare Soil Before Panting

There is nothing sadder than seeing a gardener stricken with visions of a beautiful garden become disappointed because those wonderful plants and seeds never thrived do to a lack of good soil preparation. There's no substitute for well-prepared soil. Compost is a wonderful thing -- use it! In much of the Southeast, raised beds are also a good idea as spring usually brings a deluge of rain.

Treat for Scale Insects

Scale insects are most effectively controlled on fruit trees, camellias, beautyberry, euonymous and other susceptible plants by dormant oil sprays applied in late winter but before blooms and leaf buds emerge. When using oil sprays, complete coverage of all branch areas is critical for good control. Avoid oil sprays within a day or two of a freeze.

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