Look around your garden; most likely, your plants are running ahead of season. Warm winter weather in January and early February sped up nature’s usual schedule. Many confused plants already think they’re well into spring – and behind their biological clock. That means we need to hurry up and finish winter garden chores before fruit trees bloom and rose bushes bud out (if they haven’t already). Some of the tasks that need to get done:
▪ Remove old or browned flowers from azaleas and camellias to reduce petal blight.
▪ Finish pruning roses. Remove old leaves left over from last season. Also, rake up debris around the bushes and apply new mulch.
▪ If needed, apply a final dormant spray to deciduous fruit trees before the flower buds swell. This is especially important with peaches and nectarines to fight leaf curl; use a spray that contains copper.
▪ Remove aphids from blooming bulbs with a strong blast of water or insecticidal soap.
▪ Transplant or direct-seed snapdragon, candytuft, lily of the valley, larkspur, Shasta daisy, painted daisy and stock.
▪ In the vegetable garden, plant Jerusalem artichokes, strawberries and rhubarb.
▪ Transplant seedlings of lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and kale. Direct-seed radishes, beets, peas and chard.
▪ Plant bare-root roses, berries and fruit trees.