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Do not fertilize azaleas and camellias until they have finished blooming. They should be pruned after blooming.

ORNAMENTALS

♦ If your spring bulbs have been shaded by new growth of a tree or shrub plantings, consider moving them to a sunny location or pruning back the plantings. Mark crowded clumps: and dig up and divide them after the tops have died back. Note where you want to add color for next spring.

♦ Upon emergence of foliage, fertilize bulbs with a 10-10-10 fertilizer at a rate of 3 pounds per 100 square feet. Repeat the application after the bulbs have bloomed.

♦ If you plant an Easter lily outside, don’t plant it near other lilies as it may carry a virus that can infect them.

♦ Prune spring-blooming shrubs, such as forsythia, quince and early spirea, after they have completed flowering.

♦ Do not fertilize azaleas and camellias until they have finished blooming. They should be pruned after blooming.

♦ Many gardeners plant annual and perennial flowers to attract hummingbirds, woody plants can also be added to the yard to provide nectar for our smallest native birds.

♦ Some trees to add are buckeye, horse chestnut, apple, crabapple, hawthorn, redbud, and tulip poplar. Shrubs include red and bottlebrush buckeye, rhododendrons, Georgia basil, azaleas, New Jersey tea, Salvia greg gii, and rosemary.

♦ Once new growth emerges on trees and shrubs, cut back to green wood any twigs affected by winterkill.

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

♦ When planting orange, yellow or chocolate peppers, be sure to plant extra since they stay on the plant longer to mature and produce fewer peppers.

♦ To hinder early blight on tomatoes, mulch to keep the soil-borne diseases from being splashed on the plant during rains. Remove mulch and dispose of at end of season.

♦ To have fresh raspberries, raise them in your own backyard. Fifteen or twenty plants, spaced 3’ apart, in rows 6’ apart, will produce a good supply of fruit.

♦ If fruit trees are lacking pollinators nearby, pick bouquets of blossoms from good pollinators and place them in buckets under blossoming trees. Make plans to plant pollinating varieties this fall or plant perennials or shrubs that bloom at the same time as your fruit trees.

♦ Thin young fruits of apples, pears and peaches within 25 days of the peak bloom, leaving 4-7” between fruit to insure larger, healthier fruit.

♦ Grapevines with excessive vegetative growth generally have less high-quality fruit. In early spring, prune out the canes with the fewest buds to allow light, moisture, and air circulation within the plant to improve the quality and quantity of the fruit.

♦ Erect trellises now for beans and cucumbers. Don’t plant tomatoes, peppers, or other warm season plants until the soil temperature warms up. Usually in Cherokee County that will be April 15 or later. Plants that are planted earlier will just sit there and not grow, or they will be killed by a late frost.

♦ When weather is wet and cold, allow about twice the germination time listed on the seed packet. If there is no sign of growth after this time, dig around a little to check for sprouted seeds. If you find no signs of life the seed has probably rotted, and you will need to replant.

♦ If your garden is small and you do not have adequate space for the long-vine varieties, plant a bush-type, squash and green beans.

♦ Root crops must be thinned, no matter how ruthless this practice seems. Thin carrots, beets, parsnips and onions so you can get three fingers between individual plants.

♦ When planning your vegetable garden, consider that leafy vegetables need at least six hours of sunlight to develop properly. Fruiting vegetables like squash, tomatoes, eggplant, beans, and peppers need 10 hours of full sun for maximum production.

♦ When transplanting seedlings in peat pots to your garden, be careful not to allow the rim of the peat pot to protrude above the soil level. If the rim is above the soil, it will act as a wick and draw moisture away from the transplant. To prevent this from happening, break away the uppermost rim of the pot before planting and make sure the pot is completely covered with soil.

♦ When tomato seedlings have 5 to 7 leaves, they are ready to transplant into the garden. To increase root growth and produce a sturdier plant place tomatoes in soil up to the bottom leaves. Tomatoes will send out roots from the plant stem.

♦ Drive stakes for future supports at the same time you plant tomatoes. If you try to install stakes later, you may damage the plant roots.

Happy Gardening!

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Marcia Winchester is one of many UGA Master Gardener Extension Volunteers of Cherokee County. For more information or questions contact the Cherokee County Extension Office at 770-721-7803 or for upcoming seminars follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cherokeemastergardeners or on our website at cherokeemastergardenersinc.wildapricot.org.

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