• Prune apple and pear trees now – but postpone peach pruning until mid-March.
• It’s dangerous to spray glyphosate (Roundup, etc) on bermudagrass, even if you think it is completely dormant. Make sure no green bermuda sprouts are near the soil surface. Here’s a better idea: Winter Weed Control.
• Look for blooms on your Lenten rose (Helleborus orientalis). Few other plants can supply the year-round interest of this evergreen groundcover.
• Redesign your lawn for easier mowing. Eliminate sharp angles and narrow turf areas. Use mulch, new flower beds or a groundcover like mondo grass there instead.
• Water poinsettia, Christmas cactus and amaryllis plants with houseplant fertilizer diluted to one-half strength. Don’t overwater!
• How much fertilizer or lime does your lawn or garden really need? The only way to know for sure is to call your county Extension office (1-800-ASKUGA-1) and get a soil test kit.
• Prune one-fourth of the branches from your overgrown fig bush. Removing any more will reduce the number of fruit this summer. Concentrate on saving the horizontal ones.
• Bring branches of spirea, forsythia and flowering quince indoors. Placed in a vase, they will bloom in just a few days.
• Remember to turn houseplants 180 degrees every two weeks to prevent uneven growth.
• Remove guy wires, stakes and trunk wraps from small trees you planted last fall
• The brown foliage on pampas grass and maiden grass can be pruned away now. Leave only a “crew cut” of brown stems twelve inches high.
• Plant sweet pea now for fragrant flowers later. Plant English peas, onions, asparagus or elephant garlic for your spring vegetable garden.
• Overgrown Burford holly shrubs can be pruned severely now. Even if it is reduced to twelve inches tall, this shrub will re-sprout plenty of new foliage by summer.
• Plant a large container for your patio. A small boxwood surrounded by variegated ivy and blooming pansies would look very nice!
• Plant a winter daphne (Daphne odorum) near your home’s entrance or front walkway. The scent will greet you each day when you arrive at your abode this spring.
• Clean out bird boxes so they will be ready to welcome new residents in a few weeks.
• Build raised beds for vegetables, roses and herbs. It’s easy to do with four pieces of 2×8 wood planks. Choose lengths that fit your space; bolt them together at the corners.
• Reduce the size of your butterfly bush by two thirds to one half to encourage new growth (and big blooms) this summer.
• Time for the first fertilization of fescue for the year. Any brand of turf fertilizer will work well. Next application: April.
• Set your mower to its highest setting and cut off the tattered leaves of liriope (monkey grass). They will quickly re-grow in March.
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