- Work in the Garden – Prepare your soil this month by working in Evergreen Planter Mix and Mulch as deeply as you can. If you’re starting a new garden, money spent on a half day’s rototiller rental will be well worth it in healthy plants. The day before rototilling soften the ground by soaking it well with water, then add gypsum.
- Planting and Transplanting – Most azaleas and camellias are still in bloom. Remove spent blooms to encourage new flowering and extend the season. Clivia are also in bloom now; plant them in an area protected from frost and direct sun. Clivia like their roots crowded so divide infrequently.
- Bedding Plants – Increase your flower selection by using colorful alyssum, coral bells, coreopsis, dianthus, lobelia, pansies, primrose, cyclamen, ivy geraniums and violas. When all danger of frost has passed, prune begonias, hibiscus and asparagus fern. Prune chrysanthemums heavily. Hydrangeas can be cut back to just above a bud.
- Fruiting Trees – Fertilize spring fruit trees with Gro-Power®. Remove any fruit or deformed leaves from the previous year to prevent disease and insect problems and give them a shower of water and insecticidal soap such as Safer®. If you live along the coast, begin feeding avocados now with a citrus & avocado food such as E.B. Stone™ Organic Citrus & Fruit Tree Food or GreenAll Citrus & Avocado Food. Avocados like to have their roots mulched so add some organic compost like Evergreen Planter Mix and Mulch.
Lawns – Apply a pre-emergent crabgrass control.
Roses – Plant container roses early. Prune climbers and spray every 4-6 weeks with a fungicide as needed to control fungus. At mid-month fertilize with Gro-Power®. Apply mulch and one cup of gypsum per plant. Irrigate if no rain.
Some Specific Plants – After all danger of frost has passed, prune fuchsias to about three inches. Older plants should be cut a third at a time to avoid shock and sunburn. Replace some of the soil of container fuchsias. Feed and water frequently with a high nitrogen fertilizer. Pinch back for bushier growth. Feed acid loving plants such as azaleas, camellias and gardenias as they finish blooming with a fertilizer such as Miracid®.
Pest Control – Use a dormant oil spray, such as Bonide®, again before buds open. Control woolly aphids and white fly, particularly on citrus, by blasting with non-detergent soapy water (one tablespoon per gallon). Get right up under the leaves. Keep an eye out for borers, brown rot, fireblight, scale and snails which can also be a problem now.
Dormant Fruit Trees – Do not forget to spray your dormant fruit trees like peaches for fungus’ like Peach Leaf Curl. This is the month for your final application. Be sure to do it before the buds swell. MONTEREY Liquid Cop works really well on most over wintering diseases.
Preparing for spring
- For a more productive garden all year, now is the time to prepare your soil. Also send off mowers and tillers for maintenance and clean and sharpen tools to get ready for the spring season.
- Rainwater has valuable air-borne nitrogen and less salt than irrigation water. Collect in large rain barrels whenever possible. Use it to benefit plants and to conserve water.