Good Gardening in 2018 

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As Always -Enjoy


Violet with dewdrops


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February inherited January's BRRRR factor as last few days were extremely cold (some lowest temperatures and scary wind chills in memory) this could have a bad echoing effect (especially installations made within past 3 years). Additionally long established plants like Helleborus, Christmas fern, sage, pachysandra (perennials), butterfly bush, crape myrtle, roses, heavenly bamboo (shrubs) and many broadleaf evergreens-holly, euonymus, boxwood, azaleas, and magnolia could have major winter burn to stems, twigs, foliage, root damage impacting new growth / performance. Keep Spirits up during this mid-winter month as excitement unfurling, keep an eye open for early spring blooming minor bulbs, yellow winter aconite (Eranthis sp.), white snowdrops (Galanthus sp.) along with early blooming native (Hamamelis) witch hazel with yellow fragrant flowers providing a look into the future.

January's equal hibernation and February's ignite activity seeing / thinking / working / enjoying plants inside your home, landscape and throughout the region. Always keep your eyes open for Dutch (minor bulb) iris, crocus, grape hyacinths, flowering almond, cornelian cherry and silver maple flowers and a real surprise arum (philodendron family) foliage. Delight in a trip to Missouri Botanical Garden, strolling about '19 Orchid Show, Botanical Art Exhibit, and Climatron, don't forget Sophia Sachs Butterfly House in Faust Park or walk around Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit. Contact favorite garden center(s) ask if pansies have arrived or stop by marvel at seed potatoes, onion sets, asparagus and rhubarb roots, seed racks, bare root plants, hardy herbs, cool season edible and ornamental veggies, pots of blooming bulbs, and cyclamen, golden pothos, amaryllis, Christmas cactus, orchids and much more. Expand anticipation by paging through newly arrived plant catalog.

LANDSCAPE CHEMICALS-CHECK INVENTORY-(organic / inorganic fertilizer, herbicide insecticide, fungicide)-stored in unheated garage or shed-fluctuating temperatures extreme lows and highs, liquids can freeze / thaw, condensation inside bags of dry granular material, either could influence product quality / effectiveness-test on small out of the way place and monitor results-if product is suspect contact U of MO. Extension, MO. Botanical Garden, local garden center on what action can be taken to dispose of degraded / bad product

Pre-Product Usage (whether used previously or not-liquid, granular, or ready to use) READ LABELS before mixing and or using find out dilution rate, companion (multiple products in same sprayer / spreader) mixes who, what, when, where, and how to apply, temperature / environmental factors, safety equipment and or use frequency, etc. (all resulted from extensive testing-pre product production) must be understood / followed for best results and reduce chance of plant damage

Chemical Specifics

Insect Control-apply dormant oil spray (before new growth begins) to ornamental trees and shrubs-when watch for silver maple greenish flowers (check internet for pictures- temperature above freezing), this horticultural oil suffocates insect eggs, larva and overwintering adults i.e. tent caterpillars (worms dropping from thread / webs from trees), scale (white paint like speckles on pines, euonymus), aphids, thrips, spider mites, etc. beyond ‘bugs' it can help suppress some diseases, reminder READ / FOLLOW LABEL- dosage rate, application techniques

Fertilizing-Deep Root / Soil Feeding-if ground unfrozen-for trees auger holes encircling trees starting point half way from trunk to dripline continue encircling to just beyond furthest extension of branches (holes / circles 2' apart, 6-8" deep), backfill each hole with compost option surface feeding (rake back mulch) spread light application of granular fertilizers (starting and finishing point same as above) if possible water in, replace mulch

Weed Control-lawn and bed spaces if air temperature (label stated) is good you can apply herbicide to actively growing weeds, i.e. henbit, annual bluegrass, chickweed, dandelion, violets, check in a few days for effectiveness

SOIL-amending, bed preparation, or new planting area-leave wet soil alone, take a handful squeeze if it clumps / sticks together ground to wet to work, if you think what difference does it make, clumping creates in ground air pockets which cold air sinks into damaging soil ‘living components' and plant feeder roots 

PRUNING-Storm Damage and or to Control Size / Shape-take action before new growth begins remove entirely anything cracked / broken, with obvious signs of winter temperature / wind burn damage on hedges, flowering shrubs, vines, canes, fruiting and ornamental trees, broadleaf and coniferous evergreens if pruning for aesthetic reasons never remove more than 25% of growth, make sure pruning tools are sharp minimizing shredding / fracturing tips (slows healing process increasing chance of insect / bacteria / disease problems), pruning any diseased (or suspected) plant / parts dip pruner / saw to clean (bleach / water solution) before moving onto another plant to avoid spreading disease bacteria

Cut branches of early spring bloomers I.e. pussy willow, quince, crabapple, forsythia, pear and flowering cherry for indoor vases, anticipate flowering in a month


Remember your airborne friends, snow can bury their natural food supplies / gravel (needed for digestion) so keep filling feeders and shoveling hardscapes payback is fantastic, considering new plants consider varieties that provide food and or habitats 

Water evergreens (broadleaf, coniferous) if soil is dry and when unfrozen

Walking (people and pets) on soil / lawn / bed when wet, frosted, frozen can cause damage in various ways particularly broken crowns

Repotting houseplant (before new growth) transition into pot 1 or 2" larger than current, fertilize those blooming or showing new growth at ½ label rate don't dormant plants

Inspect stored summer bulbs-discard any with signs of rot (soft / blackened / smell)

De-Icer Options-gypsum, traction sand

Getting Most from Cut Flowers-no matter type, recut stems at 45 degree angle, remove lower foliage especially any that would sit underwater when placed in vase, mix in commercial cut flower preservative before putting into vase, set vase out of direct sunlight

Think You Are Tired of Winter-imagine wildlife their food sources are dwindling making for more exaggerated desperate searches-deer devour anything exception yucca and prickly pear cactus, control-organic animal repellent, small rodents-chipmunks, mice, voles-above and below ground eat everything from bird seed, plant roots, bark, some bugs and more-moles on warmer days tunnel seeking earthworms



Good Gardening--To each and everyone that stops by-I say to you the world of life and gardening is simply wonderfully wild and crazy

Paint and Brush