Last week’s warm weather has plants, humans fooled

  • Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013 7:02 a.m.
Uneven fertilizer has left this lawn with uneven color. Spring should even it out.
Uneven fertilizer has left this lawn with uneven color. Spring should even it out.

SALISBURY — Many people are preparing for spring maintenance chores because of the recent stretch of unseasonably warm weather. Below are a few questions Cooperative Extension received during the past few weeks that may be of interest to home gardeners in Rowan County.

Q: When do I prune my hydrangeas?

A: Hydrangeas don’t really need heavy pruning to produce ample flowers. There are four major types of hydrangeas grown in Rowan County and all are pruned differently and at different times. Those with deadwood can be pruned or deadheaded at any time. It’s important to note that severely pruning older varieties may reduce flower production; the flower buds are produced on the old growth. The newer Endless Summer types produce blooms on both new and old growth, so they can be pruned spring and summer. However, if your old “mop head” hydrangea is getting much too large, you may consider judicious pruning. Prune hydrangeas only in the mid-summer before August. Pruning older plants into August is risky because they may already have set their bloom buds for the next year. If those stems are removed in the fall, winter or spring, the bloom buds will be removed, and there can be little or no bloom that year. Go to for detailed information on pruning hydrangeas.

Q: I have perennial Coral Bells (Heuchera sp) outside in pots and in the ground. All seem to be holding over this year, except for the lime green one. What happened to it? Is it more sensitive? The red ones are all leafed out and healthy.

A: Coral Bells are gaining popularity. However, the major problem with these perennials in our area seems to be excessive heat. You may want to go online and research cultivars that adapt well to our area.

Q: Our lawn is streaked where my husband obviously missed some areas with the fertilizer. What do I have to do to make the color of the lawn look the same?

A: Spring, between February and March, is the recommended time to fertilize cool-season lawns. Once you fertilize the lawn in the spring and warm weather returns, the lawn color and growth will even out.

Q: This is the warmest winter that I can remember. What is happening with my daffodils? They are starting to send shoots out of the ground. Will they flower OK?

A: Yes, we’ll most likely have more cold weather and it will hold them back. They can take the cold weather. They should bloom normally in March and April.

Regarding the lost peacock in last week’s column. The wayward peacock that strayed or flew the coop, so to speak, has been returned to its owner. The fowl escaped a couple of weeks ago and had taken up residence at another location with some backyard chickens.

Darrell Blackwelder is Extension director Rowan County Cooperative Extension. Call 704-216-8970.

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