Winter Chores on Warm Weekends

Planting tulips around oriental poppies in a container

This weekend, if the weatherman is right, is going to be sensational. So get those winter chores done now. Here is a list of some things that I am doing.

  • Believe it or not I always wait until after the first of the year, but before January 15, to plant my tulips. Mine have been in the refrigerator since I bought them on sale in the fall. So if you are like me, and have any bulbs left to plant, do it now.
  • With this long streak of warm air, containers especially with evergreen shrubs will dry out, so be sure and water them well. If you have not watered since the last rain, they are probably dry.
  • Cut down and remove all the dead or almost dead plants, that if you scratch the stems, are not bright green. Any junipers that have brown branches, remove them. Chances are unfortunately they are probably going to continue to have branches turn brown and eventually die.
  • Leaves are still with me, even thought the ones on the turf have been cleaned. Brush, shake, or blow them out of the foliage and remove any in your evergreen ground covers.
  • It is okay to start putting out pine straw over the areas where you have left leaves. This not only grooms the areas, but it helps moderate these high and low temperatures we are having this winter.
  • If you have planted pansies, sweet Williams, oriental poppies, or other flowering plants this fall, an application of half strength liquid fertilizer will encourage root development and growth.
  • This is the perfect time to prune hollies and other broadleaf evergreens. Remove stray branches at their source on the plant, and if the plants are so dense that it has foliage only at the tips of the stem, prune to open the plant without butchering it to allow sunlight into the interior of the plant. This will foster new growth in the spring.
  • Now is also the perfect time to plant trees and shrubs, but shop carefully. Many nursery plants have been stressed, so make sure the ones you purchase do not have foliage burn or weak stems.

I hope your weekend outdoors is successful and enjoyable.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

7 thoughts on “Winter Chores on Warm Weekends

  1. When is the best time to start fertilizing / bug control on Azaleas…. I use the Fertilome Azalea fertilizer with insect control(imidiclopride?) This weather is confusing!!

  2. John, what about removing the dead hydrangea blossoms. How far should I trim the plant back. We have limelight variety.

    • Limelight and all the types of hydrangeas can have the heads removed now. Just do not prune the Florist type until after they bloom in Summer. Others it is ok to prune now,too

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