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Master Gardener Journal  


T H I N G   T O   E X P E C T  &  T H I N G S   T O   D O


by Terry H. Mikel,
Extension Agent, Commercial Horticulture


POWDERY MILDEW often appears on new growth. Repeated sulfur powder (when temperatures are less than 900F) or fungicide applications are often needed to protect successive leave growth. Roses, grapes, cucurbits and euonymus are the most likely hosts.

APHIDS on trees, shrubs, vegetables or flowers may occur. Populations are often temporary. Use soapy water sprays or add detergent to other spray formulations for better coverage.

WINTER WEEDS stimulated by winter rains are still growing. Do not allow them to mature and produce seed. Mowing, cutting and raking afterwards are the only options left.

SEASONAL LEAF DROP on carob, Mesquite, African sumac, pine and other trees will occur as weather warms, as the older leaves make way for the new ones that are growing.

CHECK STAKED TREES - Remedy trunk injury from ties and rubbing by removing stakes or replacing rubber padding on ties.

PREPARE GARDEN SOILS for spring vegetable planting; early planting means better yields in most spring crops.

FERTILIZE fruit, nut and shade trees, shrubs, and vines. Do not fertilize over seeded rye lawns after February. Do not de-thatch common or hybrid Bermuda lawns until early May or later.

SWEET POTATOES can still be started now. Buy the color you like at the store and suspend it half deep in water with toothpicks, making sure the 'hook' end is up. Simply buy one with a hook. Change water often to keep it fresh. After shoots appear, plunge the whole thing (shoots half covered) in the water and roots will form.

THIN WILDFLOWERS NOW. They need room to grow during the upcoming vigorous growth phase. Thinning also reduces the competition and the ones left flourish even more.

PLANT CITRUS TREES. Young 2- to 5-year-old trees transplant most successfully. Larger, older trees are more costly and suffer more shock. Protect bark from sunburn and mechanical injury with a sturdy wrap of cardboard or newspaper.

INCREASE nitrogen fertilizing on onions. Remember, choose a nitrate form of nitrogen. Avoid any fertilizer containing sulfur of sulfate, to reduce the pungency of the onion.

TERMINAL DIEBACK in pines is usually a physiological response we call pine blight. It has been more noticeable this year. Check the soil near the trunk. Those with encircling roots express the worst symptoms.

MULCH GROUND SURFACES under roses and other heat sensitive plants.

APPLY IRON to bottle brush, pyracantha, silk oak and other plants with iron deficiency symptoms. Chelated iron works faster. Reducing watering frequency often helps.

THINK HOUSEPLANTS for deeply shaded, outside areas. Green spiders, philodendrons, dracaena, crinums, scheffleras and tupidanthus do wonderfully.

DO NOT DETHATCH Bermuda grass and hybrid Bermuda lawns until May.