SEAGLE: From bird feeders to pinecones and sticks | News

“In the heart of winter, I finally learned that there was an invincible summer within me.” – Albert Camus

“If we didn’t have winter, spring wouldn’t be so nice; if we did not sometimes taste adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. –Anne Bradstreet

“Let us love winter, because it is the spring of genius. – Pietro Aretino

“Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart.” -Victor Hugo

The real winter has arrived, which reminds us that spring is only a few weeks away. As January draws to a close, some basic and simple landscape notes to follow over the next few weeks of February, weather permitting, include:

Start planning your annual and perennial planting list for spring. Also, transplant existing perennials and manage your roses by planting, pruning or moving them. Prune dead wood from all flowering and non-flowering plants. Cut the hydrangeas to 3/4 of their growth. The transplanting season continues for all potted plants.

Now, all of these activities should start around mid-February until early March, unless we experience freezing temperatures that will delay all efforts.

Bird feeders and baths: Be sure to keep your bird feeders stocked with birdseed to serve any birds that come your way. Clean out any older food left over from the bird feeder, leaving room for fresh food. Also, clean birdbaths and keep enough water in them to quench their thirst and allow them to splash around.

Bird houses: Now is the time to clean and clean your birdhouses. Replace rotten wood, repaint if necessary and check the stability of the support post. Your birds will thank you for completing this task and giving them a clean home.

Crepe Myrtles: You can propagate crape myrtles from hardwood cuttings from last year’s growth. Make the cuttings about six inches long and insert them into a dish containing a mixture of equal parts perlite and peat moss. The medium should be well drained. Cuttings should be rooted and ready to transplant into containers in early summer.

Forced blisters: Once your narcissus, crocuses and Dutch iris have finished blooming and the foliage has died, plant them outside in the landscaped garden. The chances of popping the blisters a second time are very slim.

Garden cleaning: Continue to remove trash from lawns, landscaped beds and flower areas. Any dead leaves and plants left on the ground will hinder the spring recovery of lawn grasses and perennial flowers. Remove all plant waste from the compost pile, sprinkle it with fertilizer, soak the pile and turn it once a week. The compost will be ready for use in early summer. Otherwise, properly dispose of or safely burn debris in accordance with local ordinances.

Tight: This month, sow impatiens, marigolds, scarlet sage (salvia), zinnias, verbena, speedwell, balsam and coleus in the greenhouse to be transplanted into the landscape garden after the last spring frost. Coleus, begonias and geraniums can also be grown from cuttings. Vegetables to sow now for April transplanting include eggplant, peppers and tomatoes.

Ground cover: Put your lawn mower on the highest setting and mow mondo grass and liriope later in February. This procedure will allow the plants a fresh start at the start of the new season. Apply an appropriate mulch to deter weeds and add curb appeal. When establishing new plantings, select appropriate plant materials for the host microenvironment, whether sun, shade, or a mixture.

Roses to fall: Knockout roses can be pruned in February (after the middle of the month). They can be pruned to about a foot from ground level with five to seven strong canes. New purchases are either containerized or bare root packed. Look at the rating (1, 1.5, 2) and select the one that is most favorable to you. A “1” grade has better quality than a “2” grade, but either works.

Lantana: Lantana can be pruned once the weather has passed for the season. They can be pruned about a foot from ground level and select strong supporting leaders to start the next generation of growth for the season.

Pets: Keep monitoring the weather at night and keep outdoor doghouses warm and clean or bring your pets indoors protecting them from harsh conditions. They are part of the family and their safety is most important.

Pine cones and sticks: Continue to collect all pine cones and branch debris from the lawn and landscaped beds for curb appeal. These items can be used effectively as starter wood for your burn piles and burn barrels.

Valentine’s day: Valentine’s Day is a good timing indicator to decide when to start your base pruning of roses and lantanas etc., if and only if all the harsh winter weather has passed. Otherwise, wait about a week as the intact growth will act as a buffer to protect the rest of the plant from potential cold damage.

Late February is usually the time to prune your summer-flowering trees and shrubs, such as crape myrtles and knockout roses. Just make sure any extremely cold weather is behind us. Now is not the time to prune needle conifers.

Get ready for the fast pace ahead that will expand into all your yard activities in February and March. It’s almost pruning time for many landscape plants.

Enjoy the rest of this winter season with warm clothes, a smile and enough energy to meet the needs of your lawns, landscape plants and flower beds as spring approaches. You’ll enjoy the benefits of your work throughout the seasons to come through curb appeal, area utilization and durability.

Goodbye January and hello February!

“Do everything without complaining or arguing.” – Philippians 2:14

“In all things do unto others as you would have them do unto you, for that is the summary of the Law and the prophets.” – Matthew 7:12

“Ask and it will be given to you; Seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:7-8

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” – James 1:5

Dr Eddie Seagle is Sustainability Auditor, Golf Environment Organization (Scotland), Agronomist and Horticulturist, CSI: Seagle (Consulting Services International) LLC, Professor Emeritus and Honorary Alumnus (Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College), Distinguished Professor for Teaching and apprenticeship (University System of Georgia) and short-term missionary (Heritage Church, Moultrie). Address your inquiries to

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