Wednesday, January 2, 2013

It's a New Year in the Yard, too: Louise's January Tips

Cobb County Cooperative Extension staff member Louise Weyer has published this month's set of tips for keeping your lawn and landscape in good order. As the calendar year begins and as winter finally brings us some more sustained cold weather, having a list at hand of tasks that need to be completed can help get the yard off to a good start, so that it shines through the rest of the year.

The tips for Trees and Shrubs includes this information:

Trees and Shrubs

Ø  Protect tender plants (camellias, gardenias) if night temperatures go below 20 degrees.  Use burlap, weed barrier fabric or cotton sheets.
Ø  Protect ornamental plants in containers during subfreezing weather.  See “Winter Protection of Ornamental Plants.”
Ø  Read “Winter Care of Roses.”
Ø  Plant winter-blooming shrubs like winter daphne or winter honeysuckle. Prepare the planting beds by tilling in soil amendments.  Examine the roots at the nursery.  Healthy roots are firm, white or cream color.
Ø  Plant bare-root, balled and burlap or container grown roses through February. Prepare bed for bare-root roses:  dig an area 4 ft. wide by 12 in. deep for each plant, adding plenty of soil conditioner.
Ø  Plant trees and other shrubs. Be sure to remove synthetic burlap from ball and burlap plants.  It does not decompose.  Fertilize fall planted shrubs in the spring.
Ø  Transplant trees and shrubs.
Ø  Keep new plantings well watered.
Ø  Refresh mulch, 3 inches deep, around trees and shrubs.  Keep mulch away from trunks. If planting had a disease problem, remove old mulch to help prevent disease in future.
Ø  Cut down and remove trees or shrubs attacked by Asian ambrosia or pine bark beetles.
Ø  Prune out dead, damaged or diseased material.
Ø  Prune hardwood trees.  DO NOT TOP TREES.
Ø   Major pruning of broadleaf evergreens should be delayed until March.
Ø  Prune abelia, butterfly bush, chaste tree, crape myrtle, pee gee hydrangea, and St. Johnswort.
Ø  Pick bagworms from evergreen shrubs.
Ø  Inspect trees and shrubs for scale.  Spray with dormant oil now and in early Spring.

The remainder of the list for Trees and Shrubs includes disease and pest information for some specific landscape plants and links to websites for a homeowner tree survey published by the Georgia Forestry Commission, to the UGA publication "Planting and Taking Care of Trees During a Drought," and to the publication "Planting Under Trees."

Louise also lists tips for taking care of Annuals and Perennials (example: Prune most ornamental grasses to a height of 12 to 24 inches.), for Turf (example: Do not fertilize Bermuda, centipede, or Zoysia.), for Fruit (example: Prune apple, fig, pear, plum, and persimmon trees and grape vines late January and into February.), and Vegetables (example: See "Vegetable Gardening in Georgia" for varieties, planting dates, etc.).

There is more, of course, ranging from ways to manage water use in the landscape, to problem plants and pesticide disposal, to mulch and compost, and more.

For the Louise's full list, go to the Cobb County Cooperative Extension home page, select the link to Agriculture and Natural Resources, then select the link at the top of that page to the Cobb County Extension Publications and Articles. Louise's Tips for January are linked at the top left corner of the table of publications.