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Tidewater Gardening the bottom of the hole and cut it off if you cannot remove it completely. Now is the time to check for frost heaving in the perennial garden. This is likely to occur in gardens that weren’t mulched last fall, but it may even happen in mulched sites. Because of freezing weather, ice can form in the soil under the plants in winter and can literally push them out of the ground. This exposes the crown of the plants and roots to harsh temperatures and drying winds. If you have any frost heaved plants, gently “tamp” them back in the ground. To do this, carefully place your foot alongside each

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plant and firmly step down, pushing it back into the ground and packing soil around its roots. Next look under mulched perennials to see if their crowns are showing new green growth. If they are, it’s time to loosen the mulch. Don’t remove it yet, however. Delay the removal of the mulch until the chance of extended below-freezing weather has passed. When you do remove the mulch, be sure to cut back the old flower stems and remove dead leaves. Dispose of them rather than leaving them lying in the garden. March is an excellent time to perform a general cleanup of the yard and garden. Work among your plants only when they are dry. Many fungi and bacteria are water borne and are spread to other plants by wet tools or as you walk by them with wet pants or shoes. Home fruit growers need to start paying attention to their fruit plantings. The apples, peaches, grapes and brambles need to be pruned. Apple trees and grapes can be done early in the month. Wait until later or the end of the month to prune the peaches. By then the fruit buds on the peaches will have begun to swell and show a little bit of color. This indicates how much winter damage the trees have suffered. If there seems to be a lot of healthy fruit buds, you can go heavy on the pruning. A lesser number of buds tells me to go light on 90

March 2017 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times March 2017

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