Homeowners wonder what to do in February

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 8, 2013

SALISBURY — February is the transition month when homeowners ponder what to do about the upcoming spring. Usually it’s early too early to do much work outdoors, but often the warm weather has homeowners calling about upcoming maintenance chores. Below are a few questions Cooperative Extension has received over the past few weeks.
Q: My husband bought me some Tete a Tete daffodils over the holidays. They bloomed nicely and I would like to plant them outdoors so I can enjoy them next year. Do you have any planting suggestions?
A: Plant the entire pot, soil and all, in a well-drained area that receives full sun if possible. Do not trim the foliage back. Tie up the tall foliage and keep it alive as long as possible. The leaves will produce nutrients stored in the bulb for next season’s bloom. The foliage will eventually turn brown and fade away during late spring or early summer.
Q: Is now a good time to apply pre-emergence herbicides on my lawn to control crabgrass?
A: It’s a little early, but you can apply the herbicide now. If you do apply your pre-emergence herbicides at this time it would be wise to make another application again in May to have full season crabgrass control. Pre-emergence herbicides generally will not last the entire summer.
Q: I have planted cover crops, both clover and winter wheat. When is the best time to turn under these crops for my garden?
A: It’s best to turn the cover crop under before flowering. Plants become woody and will decompose more slowly if they grow to the flower or seed stage. If you can’t turn the crop under in time, mow and turn it under as soon as possible. Turn the cover crop under about three to six weeks before planting. Avoid turning the cover crop when the soil is wet, especially in clay soils.
Q: I sent my garden soil to the N.C. Department of Agriculture to be tested right after Christmas and I still have not received my reports. Are my reports lost? Do I need to call to see if they still have the soil?
A: The N.C. Department of Agriculture Agronomy Department Soils Labs are running nine weeks behind on soil test reports. The Christmas holidays and a larger than normal influx of samples from growers and homeowners have caused a backup. You should receive your reports soon.
Darrell Blackwelder is the county extension director with horticulture responsibilities with the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. 704-216-8970