January 30, 2015

Gardeners have questions

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 20, 2011

By Darrell Blackwelder
For the Salisbury Post
With the weather improving, some people have contacted Cooperative Extension with questions over the past few days.
Even though cold winter weather is still a possibility, homeowners have hopes for productive vegetable and beautiful flower gardens this spring.
Below are a few questions Cooperative Extension has received over recently.
Q: My pansies look pretty bad after the big snow and ice storm. What can I do to them now to make them look better?
A: Pansies can be deadheaded and fertilized, but not when temperatures are warm, above or near 60 degrees. Fertilize them in cool weather with liquid bloom booster fertilizers. Applications during warm weather promote aggressive growth and the plants usually stretch and become weak.
Q: Is now the time to prune fruit trees? I have a peach that needs to be pruned.
A: Large fruit trees such as apple and pear can be pruned now. Wait until late February or March to prune peaches. Peaches, nectarines and plums are borne on new growth, therefore, heavy pruning is needed each year. Avoid pruning early on these trees as early pruning stimulates growth and early bloom. Late spring frosts seem to find these trees first.
Q: Can I prune grapes now?
A: Both muscadine and bunch grapes can be pruned in the dormant season. Usually February and early March are the months for pruning grapes.
Q: Can I trim my pampas grass now? The plant has turned brown and looks ugly.
A: Yes, pampas grass is a warm season grass that can handle pruning now. However, I do not recommend burning the plant. Many burn the dead flower stalks to eliminate the unsightly residue. Itís dangerous and the plant is pretty ugly until new growth arrives.
Q: When is the best time to apply dormant oils or sprays to my fruit trees?
A: Apply any time during the winter as long as the temperature is above 40 degrees and under 65 degrees. Do not apply when the fruit blossoms are showing color.
Q: I have a group of pecan trees and only two of the trees do well. The other two never bear fruit. What can I do to make the trees bear?
A: The trees may be seedlings. Only grafted cultivars are recommended for planting for a reliable crop. Many seedling trees bear poorly and have small nuts.

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