Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Lower South

February, 2007
Regional Report

Prune Fruit Trees

Follow directions for building the best branch structure for each species of fruit tree. Peaches and plums are generally pruned to a "open bowl" shape, while apples and pears are trained to a central leader with whorls of branches spaced out a couple of feet apart. Your local Extension office has free information to guide you in the best way to train and prune your fruit trees.

Plant Onions

Plant onion transplants now to give them plenty of time to grow. Set the base of the transplants about an inch deep and then water them in well. Keep the soil moist and fertilize regularly starting after new growth emerges to encourage rapid growth.

Select and Prepare Seed Potatoes

Potato-planting season will be here soon. Purchase your seed potatoes while selection is still good. Then cut them into sections with one bud or "eye" each. Set the cut pieces in a place with good air circulation for a few days prior to planting to allow the cut surfaces to dry. Dusting the cut pieces with sulfur prior to drying is another way to discourage decay after they are planted in the soil.

Pull Lawn Weeds

Cool-season weeds are about to begin their big spring growth push. Now is a good time to pull lawn weeds before they really take off. Mowing can also help deter them from maturing and setting seed, which just adds to the problem in future years. There are a number of post-emergence broadleaf weed control products on the market, but these must be used with caution as they can easily damage nearby flowers, vegetables, and other desirable plants. In most cases a turf weed problem can be managed through proper lawn care over time without the need to spray weeds.

Feed Flowers

Cool-season flowers will bloom better if kept well fed. The cool soil slows the natural nutrient cycling as microbes break down organic matter, so some extra fertilizing every month or so will give them a needed boost. Select a product with more nitrogen (the first number) for best results.


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