February 2011

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The final spraying for leaf curl should be done this week. Don’t delay on getting it done. The warm weather will make the trees begin to bloom. Make sure to get the spraying done before the color of the blooms begin to show. If you have apricots you should use copper spray. If you don’t have apricots you can use either copper or sulfur. Mix neem oil or a dormant oil with it when you spray. It will help the spray to cling to the tree and also help to kill overwintering insects.

Pruning of fruit trees and roses and other plants should be done while they are still dormant. That is another task that should be done soon. Minor pruning can be done anytime but if you have some major prunig to do, try to get it done soon. This unseasonably warm weather is going to force plants to break dormancy soon.

Fertilizing will be needed when the plants have put on their leaves for the spring. A balanced fertilizer works well for most trees and shrubs. Look for fertilizer with all three numbers the same such as 16/16/16. Some plants need special fertilizer. Azaleas and Rhododendrons like acid fertilizer. They also should not be fertilized until after they have bloomed.
Then fertilize them three times each 30 days apart. Citrus should be fertilized with a citrus fertilizer. It would be best to wait until March for that, just in case we get another freeze. The fertilizing will cause new growth that will be tender to frost, so wait until the danger of frost is past. Then fertilize citrus once a month during the growing season. Usually March through October. We have a sheet at the nursery that explains all about fertilizing. Ask for it next time you are in.

Weeds are starting to grow fast now. If you don’t want to spray, then start pulling them soon before they get out of control. If you want to spray now is a good time to spray. Mix a pre-emergent in with the weed killer and you will kill the weeds and prevent new weeds from growing. Remember that if you use a pre-emergent you will not be able to get seeds to sprout in that area. So don’t use a pre-emergent in an area where you are planning on sowing seed.

As camellia flowers drop off be sure to clean them up and throw them away. They can harbor fungus spores that cause petal blight in camellias.

Start spraying roses with fungicide as soon as they have their new set of leaves. We use neem oil every two weeks at the nursery which does an excellent job of prevention and acts as an insecticide too. It works well as a preventative but if the fungus gets ahead of you a rose fungicide will do a better job of catching up. This comes from experience of letting it go too long. Neem is a good organic fungicide/insecticide and I prefer it to the chemical fungicides. Just make sure to do it regularly and it works very well.

Well it seems as though we are going to have an early spring. Hopefully we get a little more winter and a bit more rain. But in the meantime, it is really nice weather to get out and work in the yard and the landscape.

Remember that bare root season is over at the end of February. If you are going to put in fruit trees or other bare root items don’t put it off too long.