Lower South

January, 2010
Regional Report

Fertilize Winter Flowers

Those pansies, viola, stock, alyssum, and other winter flowers have been blooming profusely. Keep them vigorous and productive with a cup of a balanced fertilizer per 50 square feet of bed every 4-6 weeks. Sprinkle and scratch it into the soil surface, or use a liquid feed according to the label.

Prune Fruit Trees

Fruit tree pruning time is here. Follow directions for building the branch structures best for each species. Peaches and plums are generally pruned to a "open bowl" shape, while apples and pears are trained to a central leader with whorls of branches spaced out a couple of feet apart. Your local Extension Office has free information to guide you in the best way to train and prune your fruit trees.

Plant Onions

Plant onion transplants now to give them plenty of time to grow. Set the base of the transplants about an inch deep and then water them in well. Keep the soil moist and fertilize regularly starting after new growth emerges to encourage rapid growth.

Select and Prepare Seed Potatoes

Potato planting season will here soon. Purchase your "seed potatoes" while selection is still good. Then cut them into sections with one bud or "eye" each. Set the cut pieces in a space with good air circulation for a few days prior to planting to allow the cut surfaces to dry. Dusting the cut pieces with sulfur prior to drying is another way to discourage decay after they are planted in the soil.

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.

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