Jan. 2014 To Do List: Coastal & Tropical South

Home Depot

curving pathThe month of January is a good time to make plans for your spring garden. As you sketch out new beds and think about renovating old ones, consider growing something different, like native plants. Using natives doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice design. You can maintain a sense of rhythm by repeating a particular texture, shape, or color.  Strong lines in the landscape will control the viewer’s eye better than any other design element. You can use dotted or continuous lines and make them curved or straight. By controlling where the arc of a curved line rests, you will direct how you and your guests see your home and garden. Work on hardscaping, too, if you’re ready to add a path, patio, or other permanent feature.

  • Plant sweet pea seeds now, while the weather is cool, in a sunny spot amended with lots of rich organic matter. You may want to soak the seeds overnight to help with germination. Be prepared to trellis the plants or grow them near a fence for support.
  • You’ll know it’s time to prune roses when you see the buds beginning to swell. Prune hybrid roses that are more than 2 years old by cutting them back by half to three-fourths of their height. Leave 3 to 5 strong canes. For hybrid roses that are less than 2 years old, don’t prune as heavily. Your goal is to create a bush with an open center, so light and air can reach the leaves easily.
  • Climbing roses that have been growing at least 2 years may be pruned by as much as half of their growth. Tie up the canes of climbers so they grow horizontally, allowing space for vertical stems that will produce new growth.
  • Many diseases are soil borne, so put fallen leaves from rose bushes in the trash instead of composting them.
  • When planting new trees, be sure to allow enough space for their mature size. Trees placed too close together, or too close to your home or other structures, are more prone to disease and other problems.
  • Do some research and decide how many plants you actually need to grow. If you sow 50 cherry tomato seeds, will you really need 50 cherry tomato plants? The answer may be different if you’re growing a crop in bulk that you plan to cure and store, can, freeze, or dry.
  • Consider adding a pond or other water feature this year. A water garden adds movement and color to the landscape and often attracts beautiful birds and other wildlife. Think ahead about plants you’d use. It’s a good idea to have both submerged pond plants, such as anacharis and milfoil, and floating-leaved plants, like water lilies.
  • Remember the 3 D’s of tree pruning: remove dead, damaged and diseased limbs.
  • For more fruit in your home orchard, prune out small, twiggy branches. This helps more sunlight and air reach the center of the tree. Also remove water sprouts, the skinny branches that grow straight up. Prune to control the height of your fruit tree so you can easily reach the ripe fruits.
  • Plant container grown trees at the same depth they were growing in their pots.
  • Deeply water newly planted trees that you purchased balled in burlap. Then mulch, placing the mulch a few inches away from the trunk.
  • Want to save on your water bills and help conserve this precious resource? Consider xeriscaping, a method of landscaping that uses little or no irrigation. It includes growing drought-tolerant plants, mulching, and more; contact your local extension service office for more information or visit your local Home Depot Garden Center for plant suggestions and irrigation systems.
  • Watch your grass to know when to water. When the blades curl, they will soon start wilting. Water only to refresh them.
  • Protect young, newly planted or transplanted trees from full sun. They should be fine with some afternoon shade.

 

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