Winter Gardening for Zone 6 in the Southern US
Get a jump start on spring maintenance
A well-planned winter garden can offer
Winter gardening usually entails a little light pruning and leaf removal. Use December and January to plan your February push when the weather starts to warm and you need to kick your new year´s gardening efforts in to high gear.
- Pay special attention to watering during winter. It is very important in this climate since "dry cold" conditions exist at times.
- Keep all plants watered during dry periods even though some may be dormant.
- Roundup and Finale herbicides are labeled to control winter weeds in Bermuda grass once it has gone completely dormant. Apply when temperatures reach at least 50 degrees F.
- Now is a good time to make structural improvements in a landscape.
- Light pruning of evergreens can be used for holiday decorations.
- Some continued leaf removal may be necessary.
- Fertilize pansies as needed and as conditions permit.
- Begin pre-emergent herbicide application to lawns.
- Round-up herbicide can be sprayed on dormant Bermuda grass lawns to kill winter weeds. Check label for rates and temperature requirements. Do not spray zoysia lawn or it may be severely damaged.
- Fertilize neglected trees and shrubs in landscape beds or lawn that will not receive supplemental fertilization.
- Shade tree pruning for safety and structural enhancement should be done this month. Do not top trees or prune just for the sake of pruning.
- Mid-February is a good time to start fertilization of all trees and shrubs except for azaleas and rhododendrons.
- Force spring flowering branches like forsythia, quince, peach, apple, and weigelia for indoor bloom.
- Dormant oil sprays to control insects on infected plants should be applied if not previously done.
- Feed tulips in early February with a nitrogen-containing fertilizer.
- Check for arborvitae aphids on many evergreen shrubs during the warmer days of early spring.
- Water shrubs is needed.
- Cut maiden grass back to slightly above the crown. (6–18" depending on plant size and age)
- Cut liriope back by the third week of February.
- Remove leaves as needed.
- Mulch beds if needed.
- Fertilize blooming shrubs with superphosphate if they did not look well the previous season (Example: hydrangea, crape myrtle, wisteria, etc.)
- Apply Pre-san pre-emergent to any pansy beds having a history of severe weed problems from henbit or chickweed (late February).
- Fertilize pansies monthly if weather permits active growth.
- White paint bark aphid becomes active.
- Watch for aphids on daylilies, quince, and roses.
- Spray junipers with fungicide to prevent tip blight.
- Begin protective sprays for black spot on roses, photinia leaf spot, and rust on crabapples.
The growing season is here: Avoid the following mistakes!
- Placing fertilizer directly in contact with plant, roots, crowns, or seeds. Spread fertilizer evenly near the drip line, away from stem or trunk.
- Tilling too close and deep to plants, resulting in injury to plant roots.
- Allowing weeds to grow larger before elimination.
- Applying chemicals or pesticides in a haphazard manner, without reading label directions or proper mixing.
- Using chemicals not specifically recommended for control.
- Storing left over diluted spray.
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