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KeepSaralandBeautiful

12 August

Next Meeting

Meetings are held on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 12 noon at the Saraland Chamber Offices.

KSB GARDENING NEWS FROM JAMES MILES

Mayor Dr. Howard Rubenstein, Council Chair Joe McDonald, Council Members: Newton Cromer, Wayne Biggs, Natalie Moye and Veronica Hudson
June 2021 The wet cool spring has delayed some insect activity. Don’t stop scouting your landscape and garden, you should keep an eye out for pests and problems so you can address them early before they get ahead of you. The week after Mother’s Day, I noticed Mole crickets active in the lawn. There was tunneling activity and exit holes where they would emerge from the soil for mating flights. Now is not the time to treat, just note where you see the activity. You will target those areas in a few weeks when you see immature mole crickets that are about a ½” long. That stage of the lifecycle is the most vulnerable to control methods. So, how do you know when to treat? Soapy water flushes. The soap flush is a scouting technique used to confirm the presence of insects. The method is to mix 2 tablespoons of liquid dishwashing soap (my preference is lemon-scented) in 1 gallon of water. Don’t use forceful mixing that will result in heavy foam suds, this will make it difficult to see the insects. Next, pour the soapy water onto the area you noticed activity. Any mole crickets present will surface in a minute or so. Irrigating the area after flushing can minimize sun scalding of the turf. There many over-the-counter products labeled for mole cricket control. Most cases will require multiple treatments. For more information, you can check this link: https://www.aces.edu/blog/topics/lawn-garden/biology-and-control-of-mole-crickets/ If you haven’t treated for fire ants, you still have time to put out fire ant bait. Pruning, this is the time of the year you keep your pruners with you at all times in the landscape. You won’t always be doing heavy pruning but a snip here and there to keep the growth thinned and what I like to call “directing traffic”. Directing traffic simply means continue training to the desired form. Local produce is in full swing, support local growers… Fertilize St. Augustine, etc. If you know you have a high population of summer annuals you can use weed and feed products now, just check the label for your type of turf and restrictions. Friendly reminder, Alabama Free Fishing Day is June 12, 2021. For more information: https://www.outdooralabama.com/fishing/free-fishing-day May 2021 April showers bring May flowers, especially if you plant in between the showers. This month is still good for planting. I was out at A-Bloom Garden center a couple of weeks ago looking for some azaleas. As I perused their selection, I noticed some milkweed and some bottlebrush. That sparked my recollection of plants that did not survive the February freeze. So, my 7-plant purchase turned into a 30-plant purchase. The day in the life of a plant collector, LOL. Last month I described the results of pruning azaleas. Well, I suppose I should address the when and how to prune azaleas. Here are a few tips: 1. Prune your azaleas after they finish blooming. Ideally, you will do it immediately after they bloom. This is also a great time for an application of fertilizer. Fertilize according to soil test or ½ cup of azalea fertilizer per year of age. 2. Make pruning cuts at the base of limbs, not just clip the ends or hedge. If you do hedge, make additional cuts throughout with hand pruners. 3. Resist pruning past the end of July. This will give the plants time to set more flower buds in a typical year. 4. Sanitize your pruning equipment between plants. Landscape design tips 1. Plant odd numbers, this keeps the eye and subconscious from dividing the plants. 2. Plant groups of color and not alternating colors like pink, white, pink, white… Groups of colors create more Pop! Lawn areas Warm-season weeds have started to compete with our lawn grasses. Products that contain a combination of the following active ingredients will take care of most of our broadleaf weeds in turf: 2,4-D + MCPP + Dicamba. Check the label of these products for your turf type and temperature restrictions. Fertilize your centipede grass with 15-0-15 or according to your soil test results. Treat for Brown Patch in centipede grass with Immunox. If your soil test result indicated high phosphorus, add iron. This is especially important for acid-loving plants like azaleas, gardenias, camellias, blueberries, centipede grass, etc. House Plants A word of caution putting plants, that have been in the house for the winter, outside. You must get them acclimated to the sun by gradually exposing them. This will reduce the chance of sunscald. Anyone that knows me, knows not only am I an outdoor person, and I am an avid angler. With that being said, I feel obligated to share that Alabama Free Fishing Day is June 12, 2021. For more information: https://www.outdooralabama.com/fishing/free-fishing-day April 2021 It seems that spring has finally settled in. The azaleas and wisteria are really putting on a show this year. If you look closely you can see the difference in the azaleas that have not been pruned and those pruned regularly and those pruned too late in the growing season. The unpruned azaleas are full of blooms throughout the canopy. The regularly pruned ones have blooms in a single layer on the end of the branches. Those pruned late in the growing season have sparse blooms because they did not have enough time to set more blooming points (buds). As I drive through the rural areas of the county, I have also noticed dogwoods providing a colorful break in the woods. Another plant that is really showing out this year is the Multiflora Rose. I have seen it more and in places I never knew it existed until this year. The Multiflora Rose is an exotic invasive, so I am not encouraging planting or propagating it, just enjoying the show. Our warm-season turfgrass is starting to green up and actively grow so you can fertilize your St. Augustine, Bermuda, Zoysia, and Bahia now. Do not fertilize Centipede until May. Be careful utilizing herbicides on turfgrass during the green-up period. Even products labeled for them can injure them at this sensitive time. Winter weeds are still hanging in there. Part of controlling winter weeds is preventing them from producing more seeds. Mow, weed-eat, etc. use any method that fits your management activity to keep them from flowering and flowers from maturing. Renewing mulch in bed areas can also be an important tool for controlling weeds. This is the perfect time to use fire ant bait. If you have not pruned out the dead and damaged plant material from the freeze a few weeks ago, this is a good time to do so. Clean/Sanitize your pruning equipment between plants to reduce the chance of spreading diseases. I use 70% isopropyl alcohol, but you can also use 10% bleach. On the vegetable and ornamental front, Bryant Career Technical Center and Mary G. Montgomery High School both have horticulture programs that sell plants to the public. You can find them on Facebook or call the schools directly for more details. These students spend months learning and caring for the plants for their sales. Please support these programs and get to know the instructors, they can help you with your landscape and garden plans. One important part of any landscape is a sitting area(s). This is one of the most overlooked parts of any landscape. If you spend any amount of time tending to your landscape, a sitting area will give you an opportunity to enjoy the space you have created and labored for. It can become your place of tranquility. You can also expand your experience to enjoying the many birds and other wildlife that also enjoy your landscape. You should have more than one sitting area or at the very least be able to move your seat to different areas. It is Spring! Enjoy the show! March 2021 Well, the vacation from the lawnmower is over… Sometime this first week of March, I will crank the lawnmower for the first time in 2021. Just to be clear, I will not be cutting my turfgrass. The turf hasn’t greened up enough to warrant mowing; what I will be mowing is the winter weeds. This is partially my fault as I didn’t apply a pre-emergent herbicide to the entire yard back in October. As a result, cool-season weeds are abundant in some areas. Mowing them not only results in a neat and uniform height but also more importantly removes the seedheads that will produce more seeds. By reducing the canopy, you also reduce the habitat for insects and diseases. One insect that will become very active in the next couple of weeks, if the weather continues to be warm and rainy, is the Crane Fly. Crane flies incorrectly called mosquito hawks; they are not related to nor have anything to do with mosquitoes. They are indeed flies. The stage we are seeing now is the adult stage. Some adults feed on nectar and some lack mouthparts and do not feed at all. The adults only live for 2-3 days. They are harmless to plants, animals including people. The sole purpose of the adult crane fly is to mate, and for the females to lay eggs. The larval stage has chewing mouthparts and feeds primarily on decomposing organic matter. With that in mind, they are considered beneficial for their contribution to our ecosystem. No treatment is warranted or recommended. If they become a significant nuisance for you and your family, mow weed-grown and overgrown areas to help dry the soil out. In the next few weeks, our turfgrass will start to green up. A big word of Caution with herbicides during lawn green-up. Even products labeled for your particular turf can injure it during green-up. Please read the label carefully and follow them. Vegetables!!! Now is the start of the spring gardening season! I have my list of spring vegetables that are a mainstay as well as my list of fall vegetables. Each of us has our favorites and that will be a topic for another time but for now, I have just a few reminders: Grow what you and your family like to eat. Grow more than 1 variety and experiment with at least 1 new one each year. Rotate vegetables to new areas each growing season for a 3-year rotation. Irrigate and harvest in the morning. Do NOT wet the plants when you irrigate. Stay ahead of the weeds. Have fun! I will begin raising chickens this year. Raising chickens has a multitude of benefits to the landscape and garden. The one thing I will call your attention to is food safety with any livestock in and around your vegetables. They should be excluded from your vegetable garden area 90 days before harvesting above-ground crops like tomatoes and 120 days for crops in direct contact with the soil such as radishes. Be safe and do the math. February 2021 Generally, I leave my citrus on the trees and only harvest what I can use in a weeks’ time. Remove any remaining fruit from your fruit trees, whether it is still edible or dried fruit mummies. You should clean off all fruit from them to ensure that the trees will flower again for the upcoming season and decrease disease carry over. That applies to all fruits. As of January 30th, we have accumulated 480 Chill hours with the Old Model (which counts hours when the temperature is 45° F and below) and 414 Chill hours with the Modified Model (which counts hours when the temperature is between 45° and 30° F). The chill hour count will end February 15th. Mid-February is the time to start pruning. You can do light clean-up and thinning prune to all your plants. Some plants need more extensive pruning now such as fruit trees (except blueberries and blackberries) and most of our ornamentals (not azaleas, hydrangeas, and gardenias). It’s still a good time to plant ornamentals and fruits. I planted several blueberry plants the last week of January. Make sure to keep them watered. This is the time to plant Irish potatoes, sugar snaps, and sweet peas. If you start your own seeds for transplants, now is the time to get them going. There is an app named “SOW”, from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, that is a vegetable planting guide. It gives you a wealth of information on vegetables, dates, pests, harvest, etc. You still have time to review seed catalogs and websites for warm-season vegetables that can be planted later or direct-seeded. This is also the window to apply pre-emergent herbicide treatments to your turf area. Make sure the product you select is labeled for the type of turfgrass you have. Also, avoid “Weed & Feed” type products as it is too early to fertilize. Don’t forget Valentine’s Day is February 14th. Consider live plants for Valentine’s gifts. January 2021 Happy New Year! Continue to care for your poinsettias. You can keep them alive after the flowering and leaf drop. In a few months when the temperatures are in the 80’s and above, you can repot or plant them outside. You can plant another crop of cool-season vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, turnips, radishes, etc. It’s a perfect time to scope out websites and catalogs for your vegetable mainstays and possible new varieties for your warm-season vegetables. Spray shrubs and trees with a history of scale insects with dormant oil. Be sure to read the label for rates, temperature restrictions, etc. If you did not soil test last month, you can still do so. If you did, lime according to the results. Most of the recommendations are in ton per acre, which is the equivalent of 50 lbs. per 1,000 ft2. If your recommendations are more than 1 ton per acre, it should be split into 2 or 3 separate applications at 4 to 6-month intervals. Now is a good time to have your lawn and garden equipment serviced. Change the oil in engines, sharpen blades, shovels, pruners, etc. For advanced gardeners or those looking for a challenge, you can graft camellias now. Here is a link for more information about camellias: https://www.aces.edu/blog/topics/care-trees-shrubs/the-culture-of-camellias-the-state-flower-of-alabama/ December 2020 Hello December! The morning low on Dec. 1st being 30° F could result in damage to plants typically tolerant of such lows. We lacked the acclimation period necessary for the plants to adjust and shift to a dormant or near dormant state. Acclimation periods normally consist of at least a couple of weeks with low temperatures in the 40’s. Without that acclimation period plant tissue will be damaged. Some of the damage will be obvious within a few days of the freeze even, others may not be apparent until spring green-up. Bottom line, don’t be in a hurry to start pruning out the plant material. Continue to irrigate during this transition period. What should we be doing in the landscape? You can continue planting dormant, container, and bare-root plant material but delay planting around freeze events. You can also plant winter hardy annuals and vegetables. If you didn’t plant vegetables in your vegetable garden and don’t intend to, you can plant cool-season cover crops like ryegrass, clover, wheat, turnips, or radishes. This will serve as a source of organic matter in the spring when you till it in or allow it to die and decompose on the surface. The key to cover crops is to not let them go to seed. You must terminate them before they go to seed, else they will begin to compete with your desirable crops. Now is the perfect time to send in a soil sample to the Auburn Soil Testing Lab. You can pick up the soil test boxes from the Alabama Cooperative Extension Office, 1070 Schillinger Rd. N., Mobile AL 36608. Once you get the results back, if it calls for lime, apply according to the recommendations ASAP. It takes lime months to work and soil moisture is key. Because November was relatively dry and unseasonably warm many cool-season weeds were delayed in germinating. Evaluate your lawn to determine if the cool-season weeds have begun to germinate. If they have not, you can treat with a pre-emergent herbicide to control them. Here is a list of products: https://www.aces.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/IPM-0590-Home-Lawns-Chemical-Control_022520L-G-copy.pdf Make sure to follow the labeled directions. Holiday Interest Links Poinsettia Care: https://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/hort/2016/12/22/poinsettia-care/ Live Christmas Tree Care: http://www.southernchristmastrees.org/TreeCare.html Gift ideas Gardening tools Garden bench Your favorite or heirloom plants Decorative pots Birdfeeders Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! November 2020 This year continues to present challenges even in the garden and landscape. Because of the recent storms and other weather trends, our plants are as stressed as ever. Back to back hurricanes have stripped leaves, broken limbs, twisted main trunks, wallowed out soil near the base of plants, and damaged roots. Anyone of those can induce major stress, but a plant suffers more than one it can be devastating. Some plants that were defoliated are trying to leaf back out now. This process is using energy the plants were storing for next year. The effect could be reduced performance (blooms and/or fruit) next year. I have noticed that some plants have exhibited dieback of smaller limbs after defoliation. I am not sure how severe this dieback will be. What can we do to reduce the stress on our plants? The most important thing would be to make sure the plants are not drought-stressed. Continue to water if you are not getting regular rain in your area. Repack loosened soil at the base of the plant, making sure not to pile soil high on the main trunk. If the plant is wobbly, stabilize it with stakes. Prune out any broken or dead branches. Safety tip: If you have a lot of trees in your landscape, please look up as you are outside. There could be some broken limbs barely hanging in the trees that could fall anytime. Falling limbs can cause severe injury, be careful! Raking leaves is a common practice this time of year. For some gardeners, it is a matter of neatness, but it is important to remove leaves from turfgrass. Layers/piles of leaves can smoother your turfgrass and result in dead spots the following spring. Turfgrass growth has slowed the past few weeks but it is still green. Even with the warming trends we will be experiencing in the next few weeks do not fertilize. Just keep it from being drought-stressed. You don’t have to go overboard with watering, especially if you are getting regular rains. The satsuma crop is looking very good this year and local fruit is abundant. If you have a tree or two in your landscape, you don’t have to pick them all one time. The tree will keep the fruit fresher than you can in the house, this goes for all citrus. It’s planting time! You can plant all of your woody container plants now. Resist the mistake of planting too deep. You still have time to plant strawberries. The vegetables that can be planted now are all your Cole crops, leafy vegetables, etc. (Turnips, Collards, Mustard, Lettuces, Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, etc.) This is my favorite time to garden. August 2020 This is the time of year that is difficult to find the motivation to get out and brave the heat, mosquitoes, etc. In addition to the regular outdoor activities, we should start planning our fall garden strategies, fall vegetables, cover crops, pollinators, crop rotation, etc. Some of this can be on the inside and on the computer. Start checking seed companies’ websites for new varieties and deals. Consider combining order with friends and neighbors for bulk pricing and possibly free shipping. Now back to the not so fun part. Weeds! You must stay on top of weeds. Your plan should be multi-faceted and specific to the area and weeds. A major key to weed control is preventing them from developing seeds. They should not be allowed to flower or put on seed heads. Turf Treat for Molecricket in the areas mapped in April. Spittle Bugs have been active for a couple of months now, continue to scout and treat when needed. Continue to monitor for Spittle Bugs especially on St. Augustine and treat if they are detected. Fertilize St. Augustine, Bermuda, and Zoysia grasses with 24-6-12 @ 4 lbs. per 1,000 ft2 or according to soil test results. Fruits This is a critical period for fruit trees with a crop on them. Irrigate regularly to ensure fruit and sugar development, sizing, and reduced stress on the plant. Fruits like muscadines should be cleaned up after harvesting to ensure no fruit remains on the plants and lead to pest problems. Vegetables This is the time to solarize sections of your garden to reduce soil-borne pests. Here is a link to a publication that describes solarization in detail. https://www.aces.edu/blog/topics/lawn-garden/soil-solarization-for-control-of-nematodes-soilborne-diseases/ July 2020 We have now entered our regular summer pattern of daily afternoon showers. Though the rains are beneficial they come with a downside. They increase disease pressure exponentially. Keep an eye out for the early signs and have a plan in place. Your plan may be to prune, rogue, replant, and/or to treat. A good plan will involve more than one of those tactics to reduce losses. Turf Treat for Molecricket in the areas mapped in April. Spittle Bugs have been active for a couple of months now, continue to scout and treat when needed. Continue to monitor for Spittle Bugs especially on St. Augustine and treat if they are detected. Fertilize Centipede with 15-0-15 @ 6 lbs. per 1,000 ft2 or according to soil test results. Fruits Now is a good time to develop a bird damage plan to protect figs, persimmons, and other late summer and fall fruits. Bird netting is very effective, but you must plan for framing, adequate sizing, and time to install. Start planning for planting strawberries. You will order them at the end of the month or in August. You will plant them in October thru November. A couple of the more popular varieties are Chandler and Camorosa. Fertilize your fruit trees now according to your soil test report. If you did not have your soil tested some general recommendations are: tree fruits 10-10-10 ½ lb. per year of age; bush or vine fruits 10-10-10 1/3 lb. per year of age. Spread the fertilizer out at the dripline and not near the main trunk. Vegetables Plant pumpkins the first half of the month to have a Halloween harvest. Select varieties that state powdery mildew resistance for a better chance of success. Propagation There is still time to start softwood cutting from most ornamental and some fruit plants. It’s important to make sure your cutting tools are sanitized before cutting and between taking cuttings from different plants. June 2020 Last month we were extremely dry. That is a double-edged sword in the plant world. Dry foliage equals reduced disease pressure, but dry soil equals stressed poor performing plants. Now that we are starting to get some regular showers, watch for early signs of diseases. If you detect a disease you can prune the infected leaf or shoot off, treat with a fungicide, or both. The key will be to not let the disease get ahead of you. Turf Fertilize St. Augustine, Bermuda, Zoysia, and Bahia with 24-6-12 @ 4 lbs. per 1,000 ft2 or equivalent. Apply a post-emergent herbicide to areas where weeds are present. (A list of products and categories can be found in IPM-590 @ https://www.aces.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/IPM-0590-Home-Lawns-Chemical-Control_022520L-G-copy.pdf) You can apply pre- emergent herbicide if there is a history of re-occurring annual weeds. (Read the label carefully as some products may have temperature and/or growth stage restrictions) Continue to watch for Spittle Bugs and Chinch Bugs and treat if needed. Fruits and Ornamentals This is a great time to take soft-wood cuttings. Take them in the morning and keep them hydrated. Some will root better with a rooting hormone which you can purchase at most garden centers. Some plants can be layered for a quicker easier process of propagation. Webworms and tent caterpillars have started to appear. The webs and nests are still small and easy to cut out. Treatments are difficult in large trees and not very effective because of the protective webbing. Early detection and removal is very effective. Fertilize these plants. Make sure to apply evenly around the dripline and not in piles. Vegetables & Herbs Continue to plant warm-season, heat-tolerant vegetables like squash, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, and okra. Along with that, most of your herbs will last through the summer with a single planting. But with the recent rains, Basil may begin to decline and may need to be replanted. We've been seeing high numbers of caterpillars for the past few weeks. Scout your plants and treat them with the appropriate product. Products are more effective while the caterpillars are still small. For produce you are not growing, please visit and support our local farmers. You can locate them at Farmer’s Markets or direct to the farm. Here is a list of local Farmer’s Markets http://fma.alabama.gov/mapmarkets.aspx?County=MOBILE&OrgType=Market Enjoy the outdoors! May 2020 Controlling weeds will be a major chore from now until the first killing frost this fall. Mulching is one way to reduce the weed population. There are some herbicides that are selective and will not harm your desirable plants. Read the labels on these products carefully, there may be restrictions on what part of the landscape they can be applied and plants that are tolerant to them. Also, look for temperature restrictions, some products should not be applied when the air temperature is above 80°F. Newly planted plants will need a little extra TLC. We have entered a dry period for most of the county so irrigating regularly will reduce the stress on new plantings and increase their survival rate. When watering a standard measure is 1” of water per week. Another technique is making sure you are wetting the soil down to 4” - 6”. Insect activity is ahead of schedule so start scouting now for insects that we usually see in late May or June. An effective insect management plan starts with scouting, identification, and taking actions when the pest population stage is present at the appropriate stage of the lifecycle. You can continue to plant summer bedding plants, heat tolerant vegetables and container plants. Again, pay particular attention to watering them and have a long-range plan. Mulch around these new plants and freshen up existing mulch. Fertilize your turf areas according to your soil test results or with a low phosphorus fertilizer such as 15-0-15 at a rate of 6 lbs. per 1,000 ft2. Now is a great time to start planning for your fall garden. Think about what vegetables you like that grow well in the cooler fall and winter months. Do a little window shopping and talking to your local garden centers about plants that are showy in the fall and winter and think about color schemes for your landscape. James April 2020 We are a little ahead of schedule on fruiting plants. As soon as petals fall from the blooms begin treating for pest on highly pressured fruits like peaches. Fertilize woody plants including fruit trees according to your soil test results. Broadcast the fertilizer along the dripline of the plants. We have been dry for the past few weeks, you can begin regular/weekly irrigation of your lawns. Set timers to activate in the early morning hours and long enough to wet the soil down 4-6 inches. Aerify compacted soils. Fertilize St. Augustine, Bermuda, and Zoysia grasses according to soil test or with 24-6-12 at 4 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. or equivalent. Begin regular mowing of your lawns. Caution not to remove more than 1/3 of the turf height per mowing. Also resist mowing turf at tall heights. Tall dense canopies invite insects and diseases. Continue to plant turfgrass and keep it irrigated with frequent events and gradually reduce to once per week. Map areas where molecrickets are present and tunneling. You will treat these areas the end of June thru the summer. Apply a fire ant bait according to the label. Make sure the ground is dray and your need 2 hours without rain after application. Scout roses for insects and diseases and begin treatments at the first sign of either. Remove old flower heads to encourage continued performance. Continue to plant container grown plants into your landscape. Also, plant summer annuals. Now is the time to plant warm season vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, melons, corn, okra, eggplant, sweet potatoes, and various herbs. There’s and app for that! We have a free app to serve as a planting guide for vegetables and herbs. Enjoy the spring, Enjoy the outdoors! James March 10, 2020 “Good Morning All, Continue pruning activities. If you got a late start on pruning that’s ok, you can still get it done. You can plant bulbs and watch for annual bedding plants at your local garden center. Plant container plants that you held over the winter and continue planting dormant woody plants. With the warming trend scout for insects on the new growth that is starting to emerge. Service your tools and equipment: sharpen blades, shovels, hoes, etc. and change the oil in mowers, tillers and other power tools. Don’t forget to sit down and enjoy the floral show of your landscape, it will be going on for the next few weeks. “He who plows, hopes; he who fertilizes, begs; but he who prunes, demands.” February 17, 2020 “With the warm wet winter, our plants are blooming and performing out of sync. With that said don’t rush into landscape/gardening activities too soon. Now is perfect time to prune our fruit trees (except blueberries and blackberries) and most of our ornamentals (not azaleas, hydrangeas, and gardenias) Apply pre-emergent herbicide to turf areas for control of warm season weeds. Mow winter weeds before making application of pre-emergent to ensure product gets to the proper zone. Avoid weed & feed type products. Also, do not fertilize now. You can still plant Irish potatoes, sweet peas, leafy greens, and radishes. Start your warm season vegetables (tomatoes, pepper, etc.) seeds inside. If you plan on planting tomatoes, watermelons, and squash, apply lime to those areas now. Continue planting woody plants that are dormant.”
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KeepSaralandBeautiful

12 August

Next Meeting

Meetings are held on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 12 noon at the Saraland Chamber Offices.

KSB GARDENING NEWS FROM JAMES MILES

Join Keep Saraland Beautiful

Business Membership Your business can join KSB for as little as $120 per year. Your dues are used for beautification of the city. When available, Business Members are entitled to the use of a custom-built garbage receptacle to be used at your business' location as long as you are a member. We need to build partnerships with the business community and you can help! Individual Membership Join Keep Saraland Beautiful as an Individual Member for as little as $12 or join as a family for $25. Your dues are used for beautification of the city. We need volunteers to join our organization for the betterment of Saraland!
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Mayor Dr. Howard Rubenstein, Council Chair Joe McDonald, Council Members: Newton Cromer, Wayne Biggs, Natalie Moye and Veronica Hudson
June 2021 The wet cool spring has delayed some insect activity. Don’t stop scouting your landscape and garden, you should keep an eye out for pests and problems so you can address them early before they get ahead of you. The week after Mother’s Day, I noticed Mole crickets active in the lawn. There was tunneling activity and exit holes where they would emerge from the soil for mating flights. Now is not the time to treat, just note where you see the activity. You will target those areas in a few weeks when you see immature mole crickets that are about a ½” long. That stage of the lifecycle is the most vulnerable to control methods. So, how do you know when to treat? Soapy water flushes. The soap flush is a scouting technique used to confirm the presence of insects. The method is to mix 2 tablespoons of liquid dishwashing soap (my preference is lemon-scented) in 1 gallon of water. Don’t use forceful mixing that will result in heavy foam suds, this will make it difficult to see the insects. Next, pour the soapy water onto the area you noticed activity. Any mole crickets present will surface in a minute or so. Irrigating the area after flushing can minimize sun scalding of the turf. There many over-the-counter products labeled for mole cricket control. Most cases will require multiple treatments. For more information, you can check this link: https://www.aces.edu/blog/topics/lawn- garden/biology-and-control-of-mole-crickets/ If you haven’t treated for fire ants, you still have time to put out fire ant bait. Pruning, this is the time of the year you keep your pruners with you at all times in the landscape. You won’t always be doing heavy pruning but a snip here and there to keep the growth thinned and what I like to call “directing traffic”. Directing traffic simply means continue training to the desired form. Local produce is in full swing, support local growers… Fertilize St. Augustine, etc. If you know you have a high population of summer annuals you can use weed and feed products now, just check the label for your type of turf and restrictions. Friendly reminder, Alabama Free Fishing Day is June 12, 2021. For more information: https://www.outdooralabama.com/fishing/free-fishing- day May 2021 April showers bring May flowers, especially if you plant in between the showers. This month is still good for planting. I was out at A- Bloom Garden center a couple of weeks ago looking for some azaleas. As I perused their selection, I noticed some milkweed and some bottlebrush. That sparked my recollection of plants that did not survive the February freeze. So, my 7-plant purchase turned into a 30-plant purchase. The day in the life of a plant collector, LOL. Last month I described the results of pruning azaleas. Well, I suppose I should address the when and how to prune azaleas. Here are a few tips: 1. Prune your azaleas after they finish blooming. Ideally, you will do it immediately after they bloom. This is also a great time for an application of fertilizer. Fertilize according to soil test or ½ cup of azalea fertilizer per year of age. 2. Make pruning cuts at the base of limbs, not just clip the ends or hedge. If you do hedge, make additional cuts throughout with hand pruners. 3. Resist pruning past the end of July. This will give the plants time to set more flower buds in a typical year. 4. Sanitize your pruning equipment between plants. Landscape design tips 1. Plant odd numbers, this keeps the eye and subconscious from dividing the plants. 2. Plant groups of color and not alternating colors like pink, white, pink, white… Groups of colors create more Pop! Lawn areas Warm-season weeds have started to compete with our lawn grasses. Products that contain a combination of the following active ingredients will take care of most of our broadleaf weeds in turf: 2,4- D + MCPP + Dicamba. Check the label of these products for your turf type and temperature restrictions. Fertilize your centipede grass with 15-0-15 or according to your soil test results. Treat for Brown Patch in centipede grass with Immunox. If your soil test result indicated high phosphorus, add iron. This is especially important for acid-loving plants like azaleas, gardenias, camellias, blueberries, centipede grass, etc. House Plants A word of caution putting plants, that have been in the house for the winter, outside. You must get them acclimated to the sun by gradually exposing them. This will reduce the chance of sunscald. Anyone that knows me, knows not only am I an outdoor person, and I am an avid angler. With that being said, I feel obligated to share that Alabama Free Fishing Day is June 12, 2021. For more information: https://www.outdooralabama.com/fishing/free-fishing- day April 2021 It seems that spring has finally settled in. The azaleas and wisteria are really putting on a show this year. If you look closely you can see the difference in the azaleas that have not been pruned and those pruned regularly and those pruned too late in the growing season. The unpruned azaleas are full of blooms throughout the canopy. The regularly pruned ones have blooms in a single layer on the end of the branches. Those pruned late in the growing season have sparse blooms because they did not have enough time to set more blooming points (buds). As I drive through the rural areas of the county, I have also noticed dogwoods providing a colorful break in the woods. Another plant that is really showing out this year is the Multiflora Rose. I have seen it more and in places I never knew it existed until this year. The Multiflora Rose is an exotic invasive, so I am not encouraging planting or propagating it, just enjoying the show. Our warm-season turfgrass is starting to green up and actively grow so you can fertilize your St. Augustine, Bermuda, Zoysia, and Bahia now. Do not fertilize Centipede until May. Be careful utilizing herbicides on turfgrass during the green-up period. Even products labeled for them can injure them at this sensitive time. Winter weeds are still hanging in there. Part of controlling winter weeds is preventing them from producing more seeds. Mow, weed-eat, etc. use any method that fits your management activity to keep them from flowering and flowers from maturing. Renewing mulch in bed areas can also be an important tool for controlling weeds. This is the perfect time to use fire ant bait. If you have not pruned out the dead and damaged plant material from the freeze a few weeks ago, this is a good time to do so. Clean/Sanitize your pruning equipment between plants to reduce the chance of spreading diseases. I use 70% isopropyl alcohol, but you can also use 10% bleach. On the vegetable and ornamental front, Bryant Career Technical Center and Mary G. Montgomery High School both have horticulture programs that sell plants to the public. You can find them on Facebook or call the schools directly for more details. These students spend months learning and caring for the plants for their sales. Please support these programs and get to know the instructors, they can help you with your landscape and garden plans. One important part of any landscape is a sitting area(s). This is one of the most overlooked parts of any landscape. If you spend any amount of time tending to your landscape, a sitting area will give you an opportunity to enjoy the space you have created and labored for. It can become your place of tranquility. You can also expand your experience to enjoying the many birds and other wildlife that also enjoy your landscape. You should have more than one sitting area or at the very least be able to move your seat to different areas. It is Spring! Enjoy the show! March 2021 Well, the vacation from the lawnmower is over… Sometime this first week of March, I will crank the lawnmower for the first time in 2021. Just to be clear, I will not be cutting my turfgrass. The turf hasn’t greened up enough to warrant mowing; what I will be mowing is the winter weeds. This is partially my fault as I didn’t apply a pre-emergent herbicide to the entire yard back in October. As a result, cool-season weeds are abundant in some areas. Mowing them not only results in a neat and uniform height but also more importantly removes the seedheads that will produce more seeds. By reducing the canopy, you also reduce the habitat for insects and diseases. One insect that will become very active in the next couple of weeks, if the weather continues to be warm and rainy, is the Crane Fly. Crane flies incorrectly called mosquito hawks; they are not related to nor have anything to do with mosquitoes. They are indeed flies. The stage we are seeing now is the adult stage. Some adults feed on nectar and some lack mouthparts and do not feed at all. The adults only live for 2-3 days. They are harmless to plants, animals including people. The sole purpose of the adult crane fly is to mate, and for the females to lay eggs. The larval stage has chewing mouthparts and feeds primarily on decomposing organic matter. With that in mind, they are considered beneficial for their contribution to our ecosystem. No treatment is warranted or recommended. If they become a significant nuisance for you and your family, mow weed-grown and overgrown areas to help dry the soil out. In the next few weeks, our turfgrass will start to green up. A big word of Caution with herbicides during lawn green-up. Even products labeled for your particular turf can injure it during green-up. Please read the label carefully and follow them. Vegetables!!! Now is the start of the spring gardening season! I have my list of spring vegetables that are a mainstay as well as my list of fall vegetables. Each of us has our favorites and that will be a topic for another time but for now, I have just a few reminders: Grow what you and your family like to eat. Grow more than 1 variety and experiment with at least 1 new one each year. Rotate vegetables to new areas each growing season for a 3-year rotation. Irrigate and harvest in the morning. Do NOT wet the plants when you irrigate. Stay ahead of the weeds. Have fun! I will begin raising chickens this year. Raising chickens has a multitude of benefits to the landscape and garden. The one thing I will call your attention to is food safety with any livestock in and around your vegetables. They should be excluded from your vegetable garden area 90 days before harvesting above-ground crops like tomatoes and 120 days for crops in direct contact with the soil such as radishes. Be safe and do the math. February 2021 Generally, I leave my citrus on the trees and only harvest what I can use in a weeks’ time. Remove any remaining fruit from your fruit trees, whether it is still edible or dried fruit mummies. You should clean off all fruit from them to ensure that the trees will flower again for the upcoming season and decrease disease carry over. That applies to all fruits. As of January 30th, we have accumulated 480 Chill hours with the Old Model (which counts hours when the temperature is 45° F and below) and 414 Chill hours with the Modified Model (which counts hours when the temperature is between 45° and 30° F). The chill hour count will end February 15th. Mid-February is the time to start pruning. You can do light clean-up and thinning prune to all your plants. Some plants need more extensive pruning now such as fruit trees (except blueberries and blackberries) and most of our ornamentals (not azaleas, hydrangeas, and gardenias). It’s still a good time to plant ornamentals and fruits. I planted several blueberry plants the last week of January. Make sure to keep them watered. This is the time to plant Irish potatoes, sugar snaps, and sweet peas. If you start your own seeds for transplants, now is the time to get them going. There is an app named “SOW”, from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, that is a vegetable planting guide. It gives you a wealth of information on vegetables, dates, pests, harvest, etc. You still have time to review seed catalogs and websites for warm-season vegetables that can be planted later or direct-seeded. This is also the window to apply pre-emergent herbicide treatments to your turf area. Make sure the product you select is labeled for the type of turfgrass you have. Also, avoid “Weed & Feed” type products as it is too early to fertilize. Don’t forget Valentine’s Day is February 14th. Consider live plants for Valentine’s gifts. January 2021 Happy New Year! Continue to care for your poinsettias. You can keep them alive after the flowering and leaf drop. In a few months when the temperatures are in the 80’s and above, you can repot or plant them outside. You can plant another crop of cool-season vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, turnips, radishes, etc. It’s a perfect time to scope out websites and catalogs for your vegetable mainstays and possible new varieties for your warm-season vegetables. Spray shrubs and trees with a history of scale insects with dormant oil. Be sure to read the label for rates, temperature restrictions, etc. If you did not soil test last month, you can still do so. If you did, lime according to the results. Most of the recommendations are in ton per acre, which is the equivalent of 50 lbs. per 1,000 ft2. If your recommendations are more than 1 ton per acre, it should be split into 2 or 3 separate applications at 4 to 6-month intervals. Now is a good time to have your lawn and garden equipment serviced. Change the oil in engines, sharpen blades, shovels, pruners, etc. For advanced gardeners or those looking for a challenge, you can graft camellias now. Here is a link for more information about camellias: https://www.aces.edu/blog/topics/care-trees- shrubs/the-culture-of-camellias-the-state-flower-of- alabama/ December 2020 Hello December! The morning low on Dec. 1st being 30° F could result in damage to plants typically tolerant of such lows. We lacked the acclimation period necessary for the plants to adjust and shift to a dormant or near dormant state. Acclimation periods normally consist of at least a couple of weeks with low temperatures in the 40’s. Without that acclimation period plant tissue will be damaged. Some of the damage will be obvious within a few days of the freeze even, others may not be apparent until spring green-up. Bottom line, don’t be in a hurry to start pruning out the plant material. Continue to irrigate during this transition period. What should we be doing in the landscape? You can continue planting dormant, container, and bare-root plant material but delay planting around freeze events. You can also plant winter hardy annuals and vegetables. If you didn’t plant vegetables in your vegetable garden and don’t intend to, you can plant cool-season cover crops like ryegrass, clover, wheat, turnips, or radishes. This will serve as a source of organic matter in the spring when you till it in or allow it to die and decompose on the surface. The key to cover crops is to not let them go to seed. You must terminate them before they go to seed, else they will begin to compete with your desirable crops. Now is the perfect time to send in a soil sample to the Auburn Soil Testing Lab. You can pick up the soil test boxes from the Alabama Cooperative Extension Office, 1070 Schillinger Rd. N., Mobile AL 36608. Once you get the results back, if it calls for lime, apply according to the recommendations ASAP. It takes lime months to work and soil moisture is key. Because November was relatively dry and unseasonably warm many cool-season weeds were delayed in germinating. Evaluate your lawn to determine if the cool-season weeds have begun to germinate. If they have not, you can treat with a pre- emergent herbicide to control them. Here is a list of products: https://www.aces.edu/wp- content/uploads/2020/02/IPM-0590-Home-Lawns- Chemical-Control_022520L-G-copy.pdf Make sure to follow the labeled directions. Holiday Interest Links Poinsettia Care: https://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/hort/2016/12/22/poinsett ia-care/ Live Christmas Tree Care: http://www.southernchristmastrees.org/TreeCare.htm l Gift ideas Gardening tools Garden bench Your favorite or heirloom plants Decorative pots Birdfeeders Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! November 2020 This year continues to present challenges even in the garden and landscape. Because of the recent storms and other weather trends, our plants are as stressed as ever. Back to back hurricanes have stripped leaves, broken limbs, twisted main trunks, wallowed out soil near the base of plants, and damaged roots. Anyone of those can induce major stress, but a plant suffers more than one it can be devastating. Some plants that were defoliated are trying to leaf back out now. This process is using energy the plants were storing for next year. The effect could be reduced performance (blooms and/or fruit) next year. I have noticed that some plants have exhibited dieback of smaller limbs after defoliation. I am not sure how severe this dieback will be. What can we do to reduce the stress on our plants? The most important thing would be to make sure the plants are not drought-stressed. Continue to water if you are not getting regular rain in your area. Repack loosened soil at the base of the plant, making sure not to pile soil high on the main trunk. If the plant is wobbly, stabilize it with stakes. Prune out any broken or dead branches. Safety tip: If you have a lot of trees in your landscape, please look up as you are outside. There could be some broken limbs barely hanging in the trees that could fall anytime. Falling limbs can cause severe injury, be careful! Raking leaves is a common practice this time of year. For some gardeners, it is a matter of neatness, but it is important to remove leaves from turfgrass. Layers/piles of leaves can smoother your turfgrass and result in dead spots the following spring. Turfgrass growth has slowed the past few weeks but it is still green. Even with the warming trends we will be experiencing in the next few weeks do not fertilize. Just keep it from being drought-stressed. You don’t have to go overboard with watering, especially if you are getting regular rains. The satsuma crop is looking very good this year and local fruit is abundant. If you have a tree or two in your landscape, you don’t have to pick them all one time. The tree will keep the fruit fresher than you can in the house, this goes for all citrus. It’s planting time! You can plant all of your woody container plants now. Resist the mistake of planting too deep. You still have time to plant strawberries. The vegetables that can be planted now are all your Cole crops, leafy vegetables, etc. (Turnips, Collards, Mustard, Lettuces, Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, etc.) This is my favorite time to garden. August 2020 This is the time of year that is difficult to find the motivation to get out and brave the heat, mosquitoes, etc. In addition to the regular outdoor activities, we should start planning our fall garden strategies, fall vegetables, cover crops, pollinators, crop rotation, etc. Some of this can be on the inside and on the computer. Start checking seed companies’ websites for new varieties and deals. Consider combining order with friends and neighbors for bulk pricing and possibly free shipping. Now back to the not so fun part. Weeds! You must stay on top of weeds. Your plan should be multi-faceted and specific to the area and weeds. A major key to weed control is preventing them from developing seeds. They should not be allowed to flower or put on seed heads. Turf Treat for Molecricket in the areas mapped in April. Spittle Bugs have been active for a couple of months now, continue to scout and treat when needed. Continue to monitor for Spittle Bugs especially on St. Augustine and treat if they are detected. Fertilize St. Augustine, Bermuda, and Zoysia grasses with 24-6-12 @ 4 lbs. per 1,000 ft2 or according to soil test results. Fruits This is a critical period for fruit trees with a crop on them. Irrigate regularly to ensure fruit and sugar development, sizing, and reduced stress on the plant. Fruits like muscadines should be cleaned up after harvesting to ensure no fruit remains on the plants and lead to pest problems. Vegetables This is the time to solarize sections of your garden to reduce soil-borne pests. Here is a link to a publication that describes solarization in detail. https://www.aces.edu/blog/topics/lawn-garden/soil- solarization-for-control-of-nematodes-soilborne- diseases/ July 2020 We have now entered our regular summer pattern of daily afternoon showers. Though the rains are beneficial they come with a downside. They increase disease pressure exponentially. Keep an eye out for the early signs and have a plan in place. Your plan may be to prune, rogue, replant, and/or to treat. A good plan will involve more than one of those tactics to reduce losses. Turf Treat for Molecricket in the areas mapped in April. Spittle Bugs have been active for a couple of months now, continue to scout and treat when needed. Continue to monitor for Spittle Bugs especially on St. Augustine and treat if they are detected. Fertilize Centipede with 15-0-15 @ 6 lbs. per 1,000 ft2 or according to soil test results. Fruits Now is a good time to develop a bird damage plan to protect figs, persimmons, and other late summer and fall fruits. Bird netting is very effective, but you must plan for framing, adequate sizing, and time to install. Start planning for planting strawberries. You will order them at the end of the month or in August. You will plant them in October thru November. A couple of the more popular varieties are Chandler and Camorosa. Fertilize your fruit trees now according to your soil test report. If you did not have your soil tested some general recommendations are: tree fruits 10-10-10 ½ lb. per year of age; bush or vine fruits 10-10-10 1/3 lb. per year of age. Spread the fertilizer out at the dripline and not near the main trunk. Vegetables Plant pumpkins the first half of the month to have a Halloween harvest. Select varieties that state powdery mildew resistance for a better chance of success. Propagation There is still time to start softwood cutting from most ornamental and some fruit plants. It’s important to make sure your cutting tools are sanitized before cutting and between taking cuttings from different plants. June 2020 Last month we were extremely dry. That is a double- edged sword in the plant world. Dry foliage equals reduced disease pressure, but dry soil equals stressed poor performing plants. Now that we are starting to get some regular showers, watch for early signs of diseases. If you detect a disease you can prune the infected leaf or shoot off, treat with a fungicide, or both. The key will be to not let the disease get ahead of you. Turf Fertilize St. Augustine, Bermuda, Zoysia, and Bahia with 24-6-12 @ 4 lbs. per 1,000 ft2 or equivalent. Apply a post-emergent herbicide to areas where weeds are present. (A list of products and categories can be found in IPM-590 @ https://www.aces.edu/wp- content/uploads/2020/02/IPM-0590-Home-Lawns- Chemical-Control_022520L-G-copy.pdf) You can apply pre-emergent herbicide if there is a history of re-occurring annual weeds. (Read the label carefully as some products may have temperature and/or growth stage restrictions) Continue to watch for Spittle Bugs and Chinch Bugs and treat if needed. Fruits and Ornamentals This is a great time to take soft-wood cuttings. Take them in the morning and keep them hydrated. Some will root better with a rooting hormone which you can purchase at most garden centers. Some plants can be layered for a quicker easier process of propagation. Webworms and tent caterpillars have started to appear. The webs and nests are still small and easy to cut out. Treatments are difficult in large trees and not very effective because of the protective webbing. Early detection and removal is very effective. Fertilize these plants. Make sure to apply evenly around the dripline and not in piles. Vegetables & Herbs Continue to plant warm-season, heat-tolerant vegetables like squash, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, and okra. Along with that, most of your herbs will last through the summer with a single planting. But with the recent rains, Basil may begin to decline and may need to be replanted. We've been seeing high numbers of caterpillars for the past few weeks. Scout your plants and treat them with the appropriate product. Products are more effective while the caterpillars are still small. For produce you are not growing, please visit and support our local farmers. You can locate them at Farmer’s Markets or direct to the farm. Here is a list of local Farmer’s Markets http://fma.alabama.gov/mapmarkets.aspx?County=M OBILE&OrgType=Market Enjoy the outdoors! May 2020 Controlling weeds will be a major chore from now until the first killing frost this fall. Mulching is one way to reduce the weed population. There are some herbicides that are selective and will not harm your desirable plants. Read the labels on these products carefully, there may be restrictions on what part of the landscape they can be applied and plants that are tolerant to them. Also, look for temperature restrictions, some products should not be applied when the air temperature is above 80°F. Newly planted plants will need a little extra TLC. We have entered a dry period for most of the county so irrigating regularly will reduce the stress on new plantings and increase their survival rate. When watering a standard measure is 1” of water per week. Another technique is making sure you are wetting the soil down to 4” - 6”. Insect activity is ahead of schedule so start scouting now for insects that we usually see in late May or June. An effective insect management plan starts with scouting, identification, and taking actions when the pest population stage is present at the appropriate stage of the lifecycle. You can continue to plant summer bedding plants, heat tolerant vegetables and container plants. Again, pay particular attention to watering them and have a long-range plan. Mulch around these new plants and freshen up existing mulch. Fertilize your turf areas according to your soil test results or with a low phosphorus fertilizer such as 15- 0-15 at a rate of 6 lbs. per 1,000 ft2. Now is a great time to start planning for your fall garden. Think about what vegetables you like that grow well in the cooler fall and winter months. Do a little window shopping and talking to your local garden centers about plants that are showy in the fall and winter and think about color schemes for your landscape. James April 2020 We are a little ahead of schedule on fruiting plants. As soon as petals fall from the blooms begin treating for pest on highly pressured fruits like peaches. Fertilize woody plants including fruit trees according to your soil test results. Broadcast the fertilizer along the dripline of the plants. We have been dry for the past few weeks, you can begin regular/weekly irrigation of your lawns. Set timers to activate in the early morning hours and long enough to wet the soil down 4-6 inches. Aerify compacted soils. Fertilize St. Augustine, Bermuda, and Zoysia grasses according to soil test or with 24-6-12 at 4 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. or equivalent. Begin regular mowing of your lawns. Caution not to remove more than 1/3 of the turf height per mowing. Also resist mowing turf at tall heights. Tall dense canopies invite insects and diseases. Continue to plant turfgrass and keep it irrigated with frequent events and gradually reduce to once per week. Map areas where molecrickets are present and tunneling. You will treat these areas the end of June thru the summer. Apply a fire ant bait according to the label. Make sure the ground is dray and your need 2 hours without rain after application. Scout roses for insects and diseases and begin treatments at the first sign of either. Remove old flower heads to encourage continued performance. Continue to plant container grown plants into your landscape. Also, plant summer annuals. Now is the time to plant warm season vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, melons, corn, okra, eggplant, sweet potatoes, and various herbs. There’s and app for that! We have a free app to serve as a planting guide for vegetables and herbs. Enjoy the spring, Enjoy the outdoors! James March 10, 2020 “Good Morning All, Continue pruning activities. If you got a late start on pruning that’s ok, you can still get it done. You can plant bulbs and watch for annual bedding plants at your local garden center. Plant container plants that you held over the winter and continue planting dormant woody plants. With the warming trend scout for insects on the new growth that is starting to emerge. Service your tools and equipment: sharpen blades, shovels, hoes, etc. and change the oil in mowers, tillers and other power tools. Don’t forget to sit down and enjoy the floral show of your landscape, it will be going on for the next few weeks. “He who plows, hopes; he who fertilizes, begs; but he who prunes, demands.” February 17, 2020 “With the warm wet winter, our plants are blooming and performing out of sync. With that said don’t rush into landscape/gardening activities too soon. Now is perfect time to prune our fruit trees (except blueberries and blackberries) and most of our ornamentals (not azaleas, hydrangeas, and gardenias) Apply pre-emergent herbicide to turf areas for control of warm season weeds. Mow winter weeds before making application of pre-emergent to ensure product gets to the proper zone. Avoid weed & feed type products. Also, do not fertilize now. You can still plant Irish potatoes, sweet peas, leafy greens, and radishes. Start your warm season vegetables (tomatoes, pepper, etc.) seeds inside. If you plan on planting tomatoes, watermelons, and squash, apply lime to those areas now. Continue planting woody plants that are dormant.”