Winter chores will reap rewards in the spring
With the changing of seasons, we gardeners still have some chores to complete, such as renewing your landscape with a fresh layer of mulch material to redress beds and make them look fresh again.
At the same time, this allows us to remove any weeds, trees and vines from the beds to start the New Year off on the right foot.
If you need to plant more shrubs due to storm damage, changing of light or shade in your landscape, or just want to add more plant material, now is a good time to do so.
Remember, roots grow as long as soil temperatures stay above 40 degrees; therefore, you're developing a large root system over the winter months without stressing the plants with heat.
Make sure you still water those root balls regularly so they don't dry out, but don't drown them either. If rain is scarce over the winter, apply a watering for your regular yard plants about once every week to 10 days.
At this time of year, people like to trim up the shrubs so they look neat for the wintertime, but this can affect early blooming plants like azaleas. This year, I saw many azalea blooms on sides of plants but very few on the top of the plants due to late pruning.
With the leaves falling, make sure you do not drop your lawn mower to get every leaf. This can cause winter stress by making the roots more susceptible to cold damage, as well as letting in more light and allowing weeds to germinate.
If you do have some winter weeds developing in your lawn, spray them with herbicide to control them. We still see some signs of mole cricket activity, so consider treating those areas where you might see activity.
If you get holiday plants, remember they like sunny areas during the day to allow them to build up energy so they can handle darker areas other times. Keep them from drafts or heat vents, as this can cause them to dry up or drop leaves.
When watering, the best way is to put them in the sink and run water through them slowly for a short time and let them drain for about an hour before you put them back in the foil or in saucers where you want them.
Have a safe and happy holiday season.
Edward Poenicke is a retired Chatham County extension agent. This article is provided in collaboration with Lawn Doctor of Beaufort County.