Lower South

December, 2001
Regional Report

Prune Woody Ornamentals

Late winter is usually the best time to prune woody ornamentals. Most arborists now agree that sealing pruning cuts is unnecessary. One exception is oak trees in areas where oak wilt is a problem. Prune such trees in January when temperatures are coldest and seal pruning cuts as an added measure of protection.

Late Fall Garden Clean Up

Late fall is a good time to tidy up the garden, removing all annuals that have completed their life cycles. Remove the tops of all herbaceous perennials as soon as frost kills them back to the ground. Examine fruit trees for dried fruit \"mummies\" and remove them to reduce next year\'s disease problems.

Maintain Soil Moisture

Keep landscape plants moist but not soggy over the winter. We sometimes have dry periods, which can be especially stressful to evergreens and new transplants. Plus soil moisture will provide a source of warmth to help protect a covered plant on a cold night.

Covering Plants Before a Freeze

When covering plants before a freeze, drape the blanket or other covering over the plant and weight it down to the soil around the drip line. This will allow soil warmth to rise and help warm the plant\'s branches and leaves. Wrapping the top and tying the cover to the trunk just creates \"landscape lollipops\" that won\'t benefit from this natural protective heat source.

Complete Tulip and Hyacinth Planting

Don't forget those tulip and hyacinth bulbs you have stored in the refrigerator. They should be planted by early January for best results. These are usually one-season performers in the south, so plan on reworking the beds in spring to plant summer color.

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