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ASK THE EXPERTS

Longing for spring

POSTED: March 3, 2010 4:00 a.m.

It’s been a long cold winter and it is far from over.

  

However, there is a number of landscape and gardening jobs that can be done during March.

  

They include the following:

  

• Hostas, liriope, daylilies, dicentra, Shasta daisies and coral bells are some perennials that can be divided before growth starts in spring.

  

• When the leaves of spring-flowering bulbs emerge, apply a complete fertilizer (Example: 10-10-10) to ensure quality blooms next year. Remove the bulb foliage only after it dies naturally.

  

• If weeds occur in bulb beds, do not remove them by cultivation.

Pull them by hand so the bulbs and roots will not be disturbed.

  

• Rejuvenate your liriope by cutting back the old foliage to a height of 2 to 3 inches. Avoid cutting too close and damaging the crown of the plan since that is where the new growth emerges.

  

• Plant roses and bare-root-shrubs while they are still dormant, about four weeks before the average date of the last frost.

  

• Complete the pruning of shrubs and ornamental trees before new growth starts, except for spring-flowering shrubs. Prune those in the spring after they finish flowering.

  

• The optimum time to prune all fruit trees is before bloom. Pruning allows the tree to direct nutrients to branches that will bear high quality fruit.

  

The objective is to remove dead, diseased or damaged wood.

  

Also, remove shoots that are growing straight up or straight down, as neither provides good fruit development.

  

Growth crisscrossing the center of the tree should be removed as well.

  

A more open tree allows greater light penetration and air circulation, thereby increasing fruit quality and reducing disease and insect pressure.

  

Clark Beusse is the Dawson County extension agent. For more information, call (706) 265-2442.

 

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