Coastal and Tropical South

January, 2014
Regional Report

Prune Vines and Fig Trees

Get ready to prune muscadines, wisteria, and figs this month. Cut back vines to keep them on the trellis, then clip the sideshoots along the main canes to 2 inches for more flowers and fruit. Cut back figs by as much as half, if needed, to reach the fruit and open the canopy.

Check on Bulbs

Check bulbs this month, both those in the ground and any you're storing. Fertilize red spider lily clumps while they're still visible, and newly emerged daffodils, snow drops, and other Dutch bulbs. Check the mulch around lilies, callas, and white spider lilies. If stored bulbs have gone mushy, discard them.

Dig Weed Barriers

A small ditch (4 inches deep and wide) can keep lawn grasses from creeping into flower beds. Sharpen your shovel and slice into the edge of the lawn at an angle. Slice the other side to match if needed to lift out the wedge.

Plant Fruits

Loquat, pineapple guava, fig, paw paw -- you name it, you can plant it this month while the new, fresh stock is available at garden centers. Prepare a well-drained soil on a sunny site and plan to water regularly and fertilize two or three times in the first seasons.

Wait to Assess Winter Injury

After freezing temperatures and winter precipitation, it's tempting to cut off everything that looks ruined. That's fine for elephant ears and other herbaceous (green-stemmed) plants. But hold off on pruning woody plants unless they pose a hazard. The damage may not be as extensive as it appears at first; wait until plants come back into growth to assess how much of the plant has been injured before you cut it back.

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