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Ready for spring
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It’s been a long, hard winter and I am ready for spring. I love the color green and it can be hard to find during the cold days of winter.


As you wait for spring the following tips may be of help to you in your yard or garden:


• Now is a good time to do some general maintenance around the flower beds.  


• Remove any existing dead foliage from the annuals and perennials in the landscape.


• Be sure to mark the spots of perennial plants so you don’t over plant the area in the spring.


• Remove old, soggy mulch if it becomes matted and add a few inches of fresh pine straw or pine bark.


• Prune muscadines in January or February. If this job is left too late in the season, bleeding from cut ends will occur.


• Review your vegetable garden plants. Perhaps a smaller garden with fewer weeds and insects will give you more produce.


• Some plants that should be pruned in later winter or early spring are hydrangea, butterfly bush, Rose-of-Sharon, hibiscus and other summer-flowering shrubs that flower on new growth. Prune spring-bloomers, such as azaleas, right after they flower.


• When pruning large limbs, always undercut first. This means to cut from the bottom up, one-third of the way through the limb, and then finish by cutting from the top. The undercut keeps the limb from splitting and breaking off, which could damage the trunk and become an entryway for insects and diseases. Do not cut flush to the trunk. The collar or enlarged base of a branch produces hormones that help heal wounds.


• Assess the energy efficiency of your landscape. Do you have evergreen trees or shrubs blocking a window where the sun’s warmth would be welcome?  Consider replacing them with a deciduous plant that would let sun in during the winter, but cast cooling shade in the summer.


• When using salt to melt ice on walks and drives, spread it carefully to avoid damage to nearby shrubs. Damage to needle-type evergreens will be evident next spring by copper and yellow tones. Damaged deciduous plants will have bronze or reddish leaves. Consider using sand or sawdust instead.


For questions about your lawns and gardens, always feel free to call the Dawson County Extension at (706) 265-2442.


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