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With spring on horizon, winter work remains

Remove old or browned flowers from camellias to reduce petal blight.
Remove old or browned flowers from camellias to reduce petal blight. Bee file photo

Stop procrastinating and clean up that mess! It may still be winter, but spring will be here before you know it. That means we’ve got to finish winter garden chores before weather warms, fruit trees bloom and rose bushes bud out.

Recent winter storms probably knocked down more branches and other tree debris, too. Clean those up first. Some of the other tasks that need to get done now:

▪  Finish pruning roses. Remove old leaves left over from last season. Also, rake up debris around the bushes (that’s where fungal spores are hiding) and apply new mulch.

▪ Before they sprout new leaves, prune deciduous trees. It’s much easier to see trouble spots when the branches are bare.

▪  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 old or browned flowers from azaleas and camellias to reduce petal blight.

▪  Knock aphids off blooming bulbs with a strong blast of water or a spritz of 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.

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