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Calendar
Tips and timing for garden care
lilleaf General Pruning Tips
  • Keep pruning tools sharp and free of rust.
  • Sterilize them between cuts by dipping pruners in rubbing alcohol or wiping with Clorox wipes.
  • Make clean cuts just above a stem node or branch collar.
  • Painting pruned surfaces is NOT recommended.
  • In general it is best to prune a blooming shrub just after it is finished blooming.
  • Never “top” a tree.  Trees should only be pruned to remove dead wood or crossing limbs; "limb up" by removing lower branches to create a higher canopy; or by an arborist.
lilleaf General Irrigation Tips
  • At spring start-up, only set your irrigation controller for the most minimal watering.
  • Monitor ground moisture as summer progresses. Only increase frequency or duration of watering in small increments as needed.
  • Newly planted trees or large shrubs require weekly individual watering for the first year to keep the root ball moist until they become established. Sprinklers are better suited for lawns or small plants.
  • The greatest danger with clay soils is typically not drought, but drowning your plants by over watering.
  • Check soil moisture by inserting a long screwdriver into the soil 3-6” deep, to determine if watering is needed.
lilleaf General Chemical Application Tips
  • Look for non-chemical solutions first.
  • Properly identify the problem prior to applying any chemicals.
  • Follow the label directions for the specific pest and for the product being applied.
  • Read the label EACH time you use it.
  • Do not use the same sprayer for herbicides that you use for insect, disease, or fertilizer products
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lilleaf January
  • Only prune plants with winter damage – wait until later for other pruning.
  • Cut back the brown tops on any perennials and ornamental grasses.
  • Re-edge and re-mulch your beds once before spring, making sure that mulch is no more than 2-3” thick, and does not touch the trunks or stems of your plants.
  • Sharpen and clean garden tools. Service equipment such as mowers or tillers before you will need it.
  • Make your plans for spring plantings.
  • Dream, read catalogs, and attend classes.
  • Join Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden (www.lewisginter.org) and Maymont Foundation (www.maymont.org).
  • Take the 'Plant More Plants' pledge (www.plantmoreplants.com)
lilleaf February
  • Prune Crape Myrtles between Feb. 15 – Mar. 15. Cut off crossing or touching branches. If you want to (it is not required for the health of the plant), you may remove dead bloom tips and prune branch tips back no further than "finger-sized" diameter (Please! No "Crape Murder"!)
  • Prune back Liriope and summer blooming deciduous shrubs.
  • Prune Roses and Fruit trees between February 14 and March 17.
  • Re-edge and re-mulch your beds once before spring, making sure that mulch is no more than 2-3” thick, and does not touch the trunks or stems of your plants.
  • Apply organic and slow-release fertilizers to trees and shrub beds.
  • Plan and order summer annual flowers and tropicals.
lilleaf March
  • Prune Crape Myrtles between Feb. 15 – Mar. 15. Cut off crossing or touching branches. If you want to (it is not required for the health of the plant), you may remove dead bloom tips and prune branch tips back no further than "finger-sized" diameter (Please! No "Crape Murder"!)
  • Prune Roses and Fruit trees between February 14 and March 17.
  • You may now safely do any major pruning or reduction of broadleaf evergreens.
  • "Pluck" Boxwoods and fertilize with Chicken Manure, their favorite food.
  • Till and prepare vegetable gardens or new beds.
  • Apply Dormant Oil sprays when the temperatures are going to be above 40º F and below 80º for at least 24 hours (apply in March OR April, not both).
  • Some fungal diseases require spray applications "at bud break", such as Dogwood Anthracnose, Photinia and Bayberry Leaf Spot. Make sure you have the correct diagnosis before you spray!
  • Apply pre-emergent herbicides for summer lawn weeds before they emerge, and when soil temperatures are appropriate (approximately when the Forsythia bloom).
  • Apply pre-emergent herbicides for summer weeds in beds before they germinate.
  • Enjoy your early spring bulbs, and note where you would like more color next year.
lilleaf April
  • You may prune and fertilize Azaleas, Spring Camellias, and other spring blooming shrubs after blooming is finished.
  • Apply Dormant Oil sprays when the temperatures are going to be above 40º F and below 80º for at least 24 hours (apply in March OR April, not both).
  • IF you have accurately identified an insect pest AND the ideal treatment and timing, begin spray applications of fungal treatments, insecticides for Boxwood Leaf Miners, Scale crawlers, and preventative treatments for Borers on susceptible plants.
  • Monitor insect pests – treat only as needed. Mites and Aphids may be active now.
  • Some fungal diseases require spray applications "at bud break", such as Dogwood Anthracnose, Photinia and Bayberry Leaf Spot. Make sure you have the correct diagnosis before you spray!
  • Apply pre-emergent herbicides for summer lawn weeds before they emerge, and when soil temperatures are appropriate (approximately when the Forsythia bloom).
  • Schedule your irrigation system start-up this month. You may not need to turn it on until June or July.
  • Take photos or notes on where you need more bulb color for next year.
  • Tour as many gardens as you can during Garden Week in Virginia (www.vagardenweek.org).
lilleaf May
  • It's summer flower and vegetable garden planting time!
  • Fertilize Roses – they are heavy feeders.
  • Apply grub control for white grubs, cutworms, and sod webworms if they are a problem in your yard.
  • Monitor insect pests – treat only as needed. Mites, Aphids, Lacebug, Whitefly, and small Bagworms may be active now. Follow-up treatments according to label directions for Boxwood Leafminer.
  • Some fungal diseases require spray applications "at bud break", such as Dogwood Anthracnose, Photinia and Bayberry Leaf Spot. Make sure you have the correct diagnosis before you spray!
  • Remove or treat any containers or pools of stagnant water to reduce mosquito populations.
  • Bermuda Grass ("Wiregrass") is active now and can be treated with systemic herbicides until September to kill it.
lilleaf June
  • Remove spent blooms to promote re-blooming on Annuals, Roses, summer Spiraeas, Butterfly Bush, and some perennials.
  • Fertilize Roses and summer annuals.
  • Monitor insect pests – treat only as needed. Mites, Aphids, Lacebug, Whitefly, small Bagworms, and Japanese Beetle adults may be active now.
  • Apply Fungal Sprays as needed.
  • Remove or treat any containers or pools of stagnant water to reduce mosquito populations.
  • Monitor soil moisture levels carefully. Most plants require one inch of water per week, including irrigation and rainfall. There is a common danger of drowning plants in heavy soils as hot weather begins.
  • Bermuda Grass ("Wiregrass") is active now and can be treated with systemic herbicides until September to kill it.
lilleaf July
  • Remove spent blooms to promote re-blooming later for Annuals, Roses, and some perennials.
  • “Pinch back” leggy summer annuals and re-fertilize.
  • No major pruning after July – only light pruning to maintain shape.
  • Fertilize Roses.
  • Monitor insect pests – treat only as needed. Mites, Aphids, Whitefly, Mealybugs, and Japanese Beetle adults may be active now. Bagworms are now too large to be controlled with chemicals, and must be hand-picked.
  • Apply Fungal Sprays as needed.
  • Remove or treat any containers or pools of stagnant water to reduce mosquito populations.
  • Monitor soil moisture levels carefully. Most plants require one inch of water per week, including irrigation and rainfall. There is a common danger of drowning plants in heavy soils as hot weather begins.
  • Make plans for fall planting now – where do you want more shade next year?
  • Bermuda Grass ("Wiregrass") is active now and can be treated with systemic herbicides until September to kill it.
lilleaf August
  • Remove spent blooms from annuals and Roses.
  • No major pruning after July – only light pruning to maintain shape.
  • Monitor insect pests – treat only as needed. Mites, Aphids, Whitefly, Mealybugs, and Japanese Beetle adults may be active.
  • Apply pre-emergent herbicides for winter weeds in beds before they germinate.
  • Remove or treat any containers or pools of stagnant water to reduce mosquito populations.
  • Monitor soil moisture levels carefully. Most plants require one inch of water per week, including irrigation and rainfall. There is a common danger of drowning plants in heavy soils as hot weather begins.
  • Make plans for fall planting now – where do you want more shade next year?
  • Order your spring bulbs and winter pansies now.
  • Bermuda Grass ("Wiregrass") is active now and can be treated with systemic herbicides until September to kill it.
  • Test your soil in lawn areas if you plan on re-seeding in September.
lilleaf September
  • Stop all pruning so that plant growth can “harden off” before winter.
  • Monitor insect pests. Prune out and destroy Fall Webworm nests if accessible.
  • Apply grub control if Japanese Beetles were a problem during the summer.
  • Remove or treat any containers or pools of stagnant water to reduce mosquito populations.
  • Aerate, lime, seed, and fertilize lawns according to your soil test.
lilleaf October
  • It's pansy and bulb planting time!
  • Apply Dormant Oil sprays when the temperatures are going to be above 40º F and below 80º for at least 24 hours (apply in October OR November, not both).
  • Fertilize lawns with your second application of "fall feed" formulation.
  • Winterize your irrigation system.
  • Remove leaves only where necessary (leave in natural areas to compost "in place") Check gutters and downspouts.
  • Check clearance sales for lawn furniture, grills, and outdoor equipment.
lilleaf November
  • Only minor pruning of stray tips of evergreens should be done this month.
  • Prune early Fall Blooming Camellias after blooming is completed.
  • Apply Dormant Oil sprays when the temperatures are going to be above 40º F and below 80º for at least 24 hours (apply in October OR November, not both).
  • Fertilize lawns with your third application of "fall feed" formulation.
  • Remove leaves only where necessary (leave in natural areas to compost "in place") Check gutters and downspouts.
lilleaf December
  • Cut back the brown tops on perennials.
  • Re-edge and re-mulch beds if leaves are down, and ground temperatures have begun to cool.
  • Remove leaves only where necessary (leave in natural areas to compost "in place") Check gutters and downspouts.
  • Plan for spring planting
  • Harvest colorful berries, dried flowers, and evergreen boughs for holiday decorations.
  • Give the gift of gardening to family and friends!