Prune, plant, fertilize; time to get back to garden chores

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With the weather starting to finally settle down, it's time to get all those garden chores going in full swing.

Start by pruning early spring-blooming shrubs after they finish blooming and also prune evergreen shrubs at this time.

Give your shrubs a fertilization at the drip line of the shrubs. Apply one tablespoonful of fertilizer per foot height of the plant, or, if you have a large bed of plants, apply one-third cup per 10 square feet.

If you're going to plant any new shrubs, do so immediately to get them partly established before the heat of summer comes.

Apply a new layer of mulch to your ornamental beds to spruce them up and redefine the bed line, while pulling any weeds or grass out of the beds.

It's time to fertilize your rose plants and give them their first treatment of an insecticide and fungicide to keep problems such as black spot at bay.

It's also time to add new annuals and perennials to your flowerbeds, containers or hanging baskets.

If you're establishing new beds or reworking old ones, make sure you incorporate organic matter, lime and fertilizer to those beds as you turn them over to make the ground loose to allow the roots an easier time to establish themselves. Finish with a light layer of mulch to define the bed lines and keep weeds down.

Control any winter weeds left in the lawn and reduce spring weeds from germinating or kill those that have already germinated. Remove the final leaves that have fallen in the past couple of weeks.

If you see mole cricket activity in certain areas of the lawn, treat those areas before they have time to go mate in another area.

Get your lawn mower tuned up by a professional or do it yourself to reduce problems later. As the lawn begins to grow, start your mowing program at the correct height for your type of grass: two inches for Centipede and Zoysia, three to four inches for St. Augustine, and one and one-half to two inches for Bermuda.

When you start irrigating your lawn, water only once or twice a week if we don't get adequate rain that week. Always apply the water in the morning, never at darkness.

Edward Poenicke is a retired Chatham County extension agent. This article is provided in collaboration with Lawn Doctor of Beaufort County.

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