When cleaning up your gardens for spring keep these tips in mind:
• Never remove more than one half to two thirds of the foliage at one time to avoid weakening the plant.
• Do not “top” a tree
• Do not remove the branch collar, the portion of the limb next to the trunk
• Do not paint cut branches with wound dressing. This does not prevent decay and can cause more problems!
• Never remove…… unless they were frozen back and new growth is now at or close to the bottom of the plant.
Topping a crape myrtle (commonly called “crape murder”) can be very damaging and disfiguring to a crape myrtle. This practice results in profuse growth at the site of pruning and increases susceptibility to disease and insects. Although topping may result in larger blooms, those flowers will grow on thinner, weaker branches that will droop, especially when wet. Topping also can shorten the life of your tree.
• Make sure all your tools, chemical supplies and fertilizers are ready for spring
• Check all plants for unwanted pests and come in to get advice and products
• Mulch! It saves on water and your back- less weeds
• Check your irrigation system to make sure it functions properly and all heads are working. Daylight savings time begins on Sunday March 11th which brings different watering requirements- check what the requirements are for your area and remember-established landscapes only need 3/4 to 1 inch of water per week- from all sources.
• Spray citrus trees with Copper Fungicide when new growth starts flushing to prevent fungal disease. Repeat in two weeks. If you wait until you have fungus it will be too late- you need to try to prevent instead.
• Spray azaleas with a horticultural oil to prevent lace bugs. These bugs are microscopic and can play havoc with your plants as they tend to go unnoticed until damage is done. Spray preventively before 7am or after 7pm.