Keep an eye on fruit buds

Published 11:27 pm Saturday, February 14, 2009

After a wonderful week of sun and 70 degree temperatures everyone should be feeling a little better about life. I know there are some areas we would like to improve but you could be living in the northeast United States where they are still fighting recent snow storms. Today we will focus on getting ready for spring. We have been receiving a large number of calls about past problems and how to prevent them this year. Hopefully this will help.

Q. What maintenance is needed on my citrus trees this time of the year?

Fruit tree gardeners should be keeping an eye on their buds. The recent warm spell has the ability to make some trees initiate bud swell early. Peach growers should make an application of dormant oil before bud swell if scale or leaf curl insects were a problem last year. The first insect and disease control applications are linked to early leaf show (bud break) and delaying application may be as bad as not applying anything. Timing is important, they have both artificial and naturally derived pesticides to use so if you had this problem last year be proactive this year.

Email newsletter signup

Q. When should I begin watching for ants?

I saw the first ant activity last week. With soil temperature beginning to rise, fire ant activity and numbers are about to be increasing throughout the area. Prepare yourself for this headache and go on the offense to keep them out of your yard. I would strongly recommend you collaborate with neighbors if you live in a neighborhood to get a community approach to eliminating ants or the ants will simply play musical chairs from yard to yard all summer.

Q. Can I still plant tulips and daffodils for the spring?

Spring bulbs are best when planted in November or December. If you have not planted spring bulbs yet you may be a little late. However I had some extra bulbs I threw in a pot by the barn last year this late, they were not amazing to look at but they still produced a good plant with nice color. You can still plant them and hope for the best but you probably won’t get the root development, bloom, and growth as expected.

Q. What are some February chores that help prepare for spring?

First of all don’t always think about work! February is a great time to enjoy flowers that are blooming and in full show. Some great bloomers around the Miss-Lou include Camellia, Daffodils, Hyacinth, Pansies, and Winter Jasmine just to name a few.

This is also a good month to fertilize your trees and shrubs if you did not fertilize them last month. This is also the prime time to set flowering dogwoods out for planting. Planting sites for dogwoods should be well drained and they should be planted shallow in acidic soil when possible. Broad-leaf evergreens like Holly, Magnolia, and Photinia can also be planted at this time.

David Carter is the director of the Adams County Extensions Service. He can be reached at 601-445-8201.