Middle South

March, 2012
Regional Report

Cut or Tidy Ornamental Grasses

If you haven't already done so, it's time to cut back the dried stalks of all ornamental grasses that are not evergreen, such as the many miscanthus types. You can also cut back evergreen lirope now for a fresh start, as new blades will grow quickly as the soil warms. Take care, however, not to nip any of the new growth. Other evergreens, such as carex and ophiopogan, should be tidied rather than cut. Simply use your fingers like a comb to tease dead blades away from the crown.

Rejuvenate Shrubs with Winter Interest

Hard prune shrubs with colored winter stems before new growth begins. Cut each stem low to the ground, within a pair or two of buds from a main basal stem, to promote longer, more brightly colored branches in the coming year.

Prepare Soil for Climbers

Many vines and other climbing plants are grown against a concrete foundation of a wall or post. Unfortunately, the soil in these areas is often compromised by rubble and sand. Ensure success with new climbers by improving the soil 18 inches deep and wide, by removing contaminants, and adding compost or other amendments to the native soil.

Divide Snowdrops

Snowdrops are one of the few exceptions to the rule that bulbs should not be moved while growing. In fact, the best time to divide galanthus is right after they have flowered. Simply lift the bulbs, divide them into singles or small groups, and replant immediately. They will look disheveled for a time, but recover quickly.

Patch Lawns with New Sod

To repair a bare patch in your lawn, begin by digging out the soil in the worn area to a depth of 4 inches. Then loosen the base soil and mix it with a measure of fine compost before cutting a new piece of turf to fit the patch. Firm the new sod in place and keep it moist until roots take hold.

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