Southern Coasts

January, 2001
Regional Report

Install Weed Barriers


Install weed barrier cloth now on any new garden beds, before you plant new shrubs and perennials. If you've already planted, you can still get a jump on weeds by covering the ground with the porous fabric. Just cut to fit around your plants and anchor with dirt and mulch. This material lets in air and water but prevents weeds from growing through it.

Make Willow Water

To help cuttings of roses sprout roots, cut willow branches into inch-long sections and soak them in water for a few days to remove the root inducing chemicals contained in the willow. Take 6-inch tip cuttings of roses as you prune them. Place the cuttings, with leaves stripped off the bottom half, in the willow water to root. Leave pots outside but do not let them freeze.

Sharpen Shears

Now is a good time to prune Photinia and Ligustrum, even if it\'s just to tip-prune errant branches. Keep pruning lightly every 6 weeks if you like the great red of new growth on photinia, have leaf spot problems, or need to stimulate new growth.

Plant Berries


Plant small fruits such as blueberries and blackberries now. Plant the attractive blueberries in a row in front of the not-so-gorgeous blackberries. Amend the soil with lots of organic matter and build the row up slightly so you can cultivate around the roots to prevent weeds and work in fertilizers. Acidify the soil for blueberries, but keep the soil pH at neutral for blackberries.

Apply Herbicide

If weeds in your lawn become a nightmare by summer, now\'s the time to apply a preemerge weed control to the lawn to kill them this spring as they grow. Use a granular product labeled for your kind of grass. Try the newer and safer organic herbicides made from corn gluten that are available. Be sure to treat only the lawn, not flower beds or around shrubs.

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