Changed landscape might require new plantings
There are many things we as gardeners need to be doing at this time of year.
Let's start with the landscape, especially if you lost some trees and now have a lot of sun in your yard. You will need to consider what you will do with that new area.
Is it going to be included in your shrub area? If so, now is a good time to plant new plants.
Is it going to be lawn? If so, just sow some rye grass at this time to keep the soil from compacting and help reduce weed growth. Plant your permanent grass later in the spring.
Are you going to make a flowerbed in the area? If so, consider planting annuals later and planting perennials as soon as you can find them.
What about planting a new tree or trees in that space? If so, you can do that now.
Last but not least you might be doing a combination of all the above, which is what a lot of people I know who have this same problem are doing.
At this time of year you need to cut back on your fruit trees and muscadine grape vines to get them ready for this coming spring's growth.
If you have not limed these plants in the last year you need to do so immediately.
If your vegetable garden is producing some vegetables at this time, keep them growing with a light fertilization because shortly you will be planting peas (English, snow or sugar snap), potatoes and more broccoli and cabbage plants for an early spring-summer crop.
You will need to remove leaves so moisture levels don't build up around your grass roots and cause disease later. If you did not apply lime (dolomitic) to your St. Augustine, Bermuda or Zoysia grass last fall you need to do so now to help increase the pH of your soil so you get the most from the fertilizer you apply this coming spring.
Continue to control winter weeds with a herbicide spray. I have seen some mole cricket activity on warm days this winter with their familiar pop-ups of soil, which means they are still feeding on the roots of your grass, so if you see some pop-ups, you will need to treat for mole crickets.
Edward Poenicke is a retired Chatham County extension agent. This article is provided in collaboration with Lawn Doctor of Beaufort County.