Miscellaneous Monthly Gardening Tips


January

  • Prune muscadine grapes by removing tendrils and all branches not needed for spurs.
  • Plant a tree on Arbor Day!
  • Provide cold protection for less hardy plants and recently planted annuals.  Water evergreens when a sudden freeze is predicted.  If the winter has been dry check plants for water needs.
  • Fertilize citrus trees with commercial citrus formulation or 1/2 lb. 10-10-10 per year of age (up to 10 lbs.).  Broadcast fertilizer out to the drip line and water in.  Do not place it up against the stem.
  • Take hardwood cuttings of vigorous year-old wood, 3-10" long.  Dip in a root stimulator.  Place 3-4 inches apart in loose sandy loam soil with only one growth bud showing.  Keep moist.  You should start to see roots in several weeks.
  • If you have not taken a soil sample do so now to prepare for spring planting.

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February

  • During dry weather, check plants and lawns for dry spots and add water if needed.
  • If any plants are damaged by cold weather, wait until no more frosts are predicted before pruning out cold-damaged wood.
  • Prune and fertilize established fruit trees before the end of the month.
  • Fertilize pecan trees with a commercial pecan fertilizer which contains zinc.  Broadcast fertilizer under canopy and water in.
  • Prepare your potted poinsettia for the move outdoors when the plant begins to fade.  Choose a spot out of direct sun and away from the artificial light.
  • Fertilize blueberries with azalea/camellia fertilizer at the rate of 1/8 cup per plant for young plants and up to 1/2 cup for mature plants.
  • During the late part of the month, fertilize azaleas, camellias, shrubs, vines, and groundcovers.
  • Watch for caterpillars, spider mites, scale, and white flies.
  • Prepare flower beds by adding organic matter and fertilizer.
  • Mulch perennial beds and areas beneath trees and shrubs before warm season weeds sprout.  Place a three inch layer of pine straw or leaf litter around plants but pull it away from trunks and stems.

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March

  • Prune ornamental grasses to 12 inches above the ground, careful not to cut the growing points.
  • Rejuvenate Liriope (border or monkey grass) by cutting back after danger of a frost.
  • If you have not taken a soil sample, get one now before applying any lime to the lawn or garden.

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April

  • Now is the time to start propagating plants.  You can take cuttings or air layer.
  • When taking cuttings of ficus, geranium, poinsettia, crown of thorns, pineapple, diffenbachia, or other plants with milky sap, allow the cut end to harden for a couple of hours before putting the cutting in soil.

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May

  • Try a flowering vine such as a coral, honeysuckle or cypress vine which attracts hummingbirds.
  • Azaleas with yellow leaves may indicate a need for iron.  You can apply iron sulphate or chelated iron.
  • Feed citrus plants with a citrus fertilizer (6-6-6 or 8-8-8).  Broadcast under the tree canopy and water in.
  • Set up a composting area in the yard to recycle landscape wastes.  Remember to add soil, fertilizer materials, and moisture to the pile.

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June

  • Stake tall plants, such as gladiolus and dahlia, to protect them from winds or heavy rains.  Use a soft cloth to attach the stems to the stake to prevent damage.
  • Provide sufficient water to all plants during dry periods.  Be careful not to overwater.
  • If hanging baskets are outside, remove the saucers to prevent the roots from becoming waterlogged and rotten.

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July

  • Fertilize banana plants with a complete fertilizer containing slow release nitrogen.  Broadcast under the plant canopy and water in.
  • Repot houseplants that are drying out often.  Choose a container 1-2 inches wider and deeper.
  • Remove spent vegetables and flowers.
  • Watch for yellowing leaves on plants.  This may be a sign of iron deficiency.  Apply liquid iron or minor elements according to label directions.
  • Order cool weather vegetable and flower seeds.  Store seeds in an air tight container and place in refrigerator until you are ready to plant.

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August

  • Monitor plants for insect damage.
  • Keep all shallow-rooted plants such as azaleas, camellias, and dogwoods watered during dry periods.
  • Check mulch around plants.  Keep the level at three inches and away from stems and trunks.
  • Check container plants for dry soil and water when needed.  Fertilize with a soluble fertilizer.
  • Take a few cuttings of woody ornamentals and a few of your cold sensitive plants.  This is the latest in the year to air layer.
  • Keep adding to the compost pile.  Never add diseased material, meat products, or pet wastes to the bin.

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September

  • Prepare houseplants for the move indoors.  Clean shelves, plant stands, and empty pots with a bleach solution (1/4 cup bleach to 1 quart water).  Clean plants with a spray from a garden hose and then allow plant leaves to dry in the sun.  Check for signs of insects and disease.  Repot plants if necessary.

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October

  • Collect leaves for the compost pile.  Collect pine straw for replenishing mulch.
  • Caladiums should be dug and left in the shade for a few days to dry.  Clean them off and store in dry peat, sand, or a mesh bag for winter. Make sure your storage area stays around 70 degree F.
  • Watch for the Monarch butterflies passing through the area on their way to Mexico.  Check in areas where the baccharis shrub grows.  It is between 4-8 feet in height, with clusters of small white flowers.  It has a honey fragrance.

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November

  • Mulch tender plants and bulbs.
  • Feed hardy annuals and vegetables lightly with a dry fertilizer.
  • Continue to prepare plants and accessories to come indoors.  Clean pots with a brush and wash off plant leaves.  If you find signs of insects, spray with an insecticidal soap.  You may need to move plants inside for short periods of time so they can adjust to indoor conditions.  Be sure to bring them in when nighttime temperatures are below 50 degrees F.

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December

  • Be prepared to cover annuals and bulbs when a freeze is predicted.
  • When purchasing a poinsettia, choose a quality plant.  Look for green foliage that extends to the soil line, bracts that are brightly colored, and green undeveloped flowers growing in the center of the bracts.
  • Preserve a Christmas tree through the holidays by keeping fresh water in the basin.  There is no need to place additives, such as bleach, sugar, or aspirin, in the water.
  • Wait until March to prune back ornamental grasses.  Enjoy the look and sound of the grasses foliage and flowers in their winter condition.
  • To winterize evergreen and tender plants, water them when a sudden freeze is predicted.  If the weather has been unusually dry, water plants.  Renew mulch around plants as you rake.  Locate less hardy plants in the highest part of the yard since cold weather settles in low spots.
  • For Holiday presents this year consider a subscription to a gardening magazine, gardening tools, flower pots, a bird feeder, or wind chimes.
  • Use cuttings of holly in your holiday decorations.
  • Make a New Year's resolution to learn about a new plant or gardening technique.

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Gardening Gloves