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Master Gardener: February gardening chores

By Susan E. Johnson

Walked around in the yard to see just how much damage Mother Nature has wreaked so far this winter. Only plant burned by the cold was my patio gardenia. (My mom’s heirloom gardenia looks absolutely dreadful.) Most of the work is just basic pruning to keep hedges and specimens in check.

Stan Brown at Blossomberry was finally able to make it over to Tennessee to purchase and haul his tree order back to his nursery. The awful mess of snow and ice stayed just to the east of where that tree nursery was located. I honestly cannot complain about the harshness of this winter’s weather - I had no power outage, no ice damage, no measurable drought - and I thank the Maker for that.

If you haven’t done it, get your pruning done as soon as possible. Janet Carson’s telling us to get those Knockout roses pruned back to 18 inches. Such severe pruning will stimulate the plant to produce fresh, healthy growth and more gorgeous blooms. Severe pruning also seems to head off outbreaks of rose-rosette virus. Speaking of Janet, she’ll be appearing over in Booneville at the Jeral Hampton Meeting Place on March 25th from 1 to 3 p.m. She will lead a question/answer session. Free to the public.

Another issue you might be dealing with this year is scale on your crape myrtles. Initial outbreak spotted in Little Rock area. A systemic insecticide will be your best bet for treatment.

Hellebores were in bloom at Stan’s. Stan says the plant has been in demand by area gardeners the last couple years.

Spring bulbs just barely show their leaf tips above the leaves. This time, two years ago, they, along with a plethora of shrubs, were already in full bloom. One thing about our seasons, you can never count on them being consistent from year to year!

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