Happy New Year!
If you’re like everybody else, your slowly getting back into the routine after the holidays. It’s cold outside and the last thing on your mind is working in the yard. However, there are some things that you can and should be doing despite the unpleasant weather. Here are just a few of them:
– Pruning – Now is the time of year to prune many plants. Without going into too much detail about whether buds are set on the old season’s wood vs. new season’s wood, generally speaking you can follow the May Rule. If it blooms after May 1st, prune it in January/February. If it blooms before May 1st, wait and prune it just after it finishes blooming. This prevents you from cutting off buds that are soon to be blooms. As with anything, there are exceptions…Hydrangea being one of them.
– Check your irrigation system and make sure it is off. There are times you may need to water on those occasions in Janurary or February when temps warm up into the 60’s or 70’s for a day or two. The only thing that really may need watering would be winter annuals such as pansies. However, many times you can do this with a hose instead of turning on your irrigation and wasting a bunch of water.
– Most of the leaves have fallen and its a good time to cleanup. Cleaning out beds and re-mulching is a great winter time project…and it dresses up the yard a little bit. Many people like to put leaves in their shrub beds for mulch. That works fine as long as you don’t build it up too thick. Every so often you need to rake out the beds and get rid of any build up from previous years. Make sure you don’t let mulch get any deeper than 3″. Shredded pine mulch tends to contribute to build up more so than pinestraw. Either way, mulching beds helps protect plants during the cold months as well as hot, dry months, and its an inexpensive way to improve appearances.
– Pre-emergent weed control needs to be applied to turf areas in early-mid February here in Birmingham. You had rather be early getting out the pre-emergent than late. This will help keep weeds from germinating during the spring months.
Just remember, spring will be here before you know it!