Lower South

February, 2009
Regional Report

Trim Ornamental Grasses

Clumping ornamental grasses like maiden grass, pampas grass, fountain grass and others can become unsightly as old dead growth is left year after year. Cut them back to a foot or so high and the new growth will soon emerge to fill in creating a fresh attractive new plant this spring.

Clean Up Perennial Herbs

Warmer temperatures are just around the corner and our perennial herbs will soon be sending out new growth. Shear them back now to remove dead branches and to shape the plants as desired. They'll respond with fresh new growth to fill back in over the coming weeks.

Plant Potatoes

We have a narrow window to get "Irish" and "new" potatoes in the ground for spring. Cut the "seed potatoes" into pieces with a bud or eye on each piece. Toss them in a paper sack with some sulfur dust and shake them to coat the cut surfaces. Then let them dry on a piece of newspaper for a few days before planting in the garden.

Complete Dormant Oil Sprays

Spray fruit trees and other plants prone to scale problems with dormant oil BEFORE new growth and blooms emerge if scale has been a problem in the past. Oil will burn blooms and emerging foliage. Also don't spray oil within a day or two of a freeze.

Divide Fall Blooming Perennials

Late winter is the time to divide perennial plants that bloom in fall. Chrysanthemums, autumn asters, Mexican marigold-mint, physostegia (obedient plant) and late summer-blooming bulbs can be dug, divided, and reset now. That will give them a long spring and summer season to become established and ready to bloom again.

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