Lower South

February, 2012
Regional Report

Prune Roses That Repeat Bloom

Roses that continue to bloom through the growing season can be pruned now to prepare them for the onset of new growth and a great spring flowering display. In fact, our mild winter has some varieties already doing a preview, so don't delay! Wait to prune any cultivars that only bloom in the spring until after their bloom show is over.

Shear Evergreen Groundcovers

Evergreen groundcovers that have become unattractive due to the effect of summer heat, winter cold, or damage from pests and diseases can be rejuvenated by a late winter shearing. Complete this pruning back of old growth prior to the emergence of new growth. With the arrival of warm weather, new growth will fill in and the planting will be fresh and attractive again.

Plant Cole Crops

This is a good time to get in another planting of cole crops which include broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, cauliflower, kale, and collards. Water the new plants in with a dilute fertilizer solution and watch for cabbage loopers feeding on the foliage and cutworms that cut the plant off near the ground line. A covering of spun-bonded polyester fabric over the plants and secured to the soil can help exclude these pests if applied right after planting.

Prune Fruit Trees

Fruit tree pruning should be completed prior to the onset of new growth. If circumstances prevent the gardener from getting out to prune the plants while dormant, it is okay to do a little pruning after the buds begin to grow but this is not the ideal option. Follow instructions for each type of fruit plant to insure good structure and production.

Prune Blackberries

Remove any blackberry canes (upright shoots emerging from the ground) that produced fruit last year. Trim the remaining shoots that grew last year but have not yet produced fruit back to about 4-5 feet tall. You can also shear long, lanky side shoots back to 2 or 3 feet long to make the planting more accessible during harvest.

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