I can't believe it is March 2nd and so many plants have been fooled into blooming. This weather is crazy and there are still no freezing temps in the 10 day forecast. But like I said last month we have a long way to go before we can safely say it won't frost again. I am afraid some things will be so far along they may even be killed by the freeze to come.
We have had a lot of questions about watering and quite honestly if you are just starting to think about it now it may be too late. As I have said time and time again "Plants do 80 % of their root growth in late summer, fall and WINTER so it is especially important to keep them hydrated during this time". Here is a link to a comprehensive post on watering that everyone should read and reread as often as questions arise Water, water, water.
|Bradford Pear (Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford')|
|Flowering Crabapple (Malus 'Prairiefire'), starting to think about it.|
|Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata 'Emerald Blue'), right on schedule.|
THINGS TO DO:
Divide perennials. Now that a lot of your herbaceous perennials, those that die all the way to the ground in the winter, have started to grow you will want to divide those that need it. If the clumps have begun to die out in the center, their blooms are less abundant and smaller than usual or just seem overcrowded, they will benefit from division. Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), Daylillies (Hemerocallis), Coneflowers (Echinacea), any members of the mint family, that square-stemmed sometimes invasive Lamiaceae group that includes Mentha, Salvia, Monarda and many herbs can all be divided now. Division is the act of propagating a plant by dividing it into several individual plants, complete with roots and buds of their own. To get started have the area you plan to plant your new divisions into or the containers you will pot them in ready so you don't leave the roots exposed too long. Mix compost into your soil or use potting soil in pots. Dig up the root system using a trowel, spade or in the case of large clumps a garden fork. Brush off loose soil and remove any dead leaves and stems. Wash the soil from the crown so you can easily see the buds. Divide the clump into sections that contain several buds or shoots and healthy roots discarding any old, woody growth. Replant and water thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots. The rain we got yesterday will make this job a little easier so get out there soon and get this chore done. It may take a year for your newly planted perennials to start blooming well again but it will be worth the effort.
Prune roses. After the first few leaf buds begin to break on your roses it is time to prune them. Here is a link to our Rose Guide Roses.
Plant cool season vegetables. When we open on the 25th we will have lots of cool season veggies for your planting pleasure. Check out last month's 'Silver City's Suggested Planting Times' for when to plant what or pick up a copy at the nursery.
PLANT OF THE MONTH:
Pyrus calleryana. I couldn't resist making this tree my plant of the month. The Flowering Pears around town are just gorgeous right now. Although they are not the smartest plant, flowering in February, they sure are a satisfying shade tree. Explosive spring flowers, shiny, dark green leaves and beautiful, red, orange and purple fall color...what's not to like? They even sometimes produce small, inedible fruit that birds enjoy. The 'Bradford' variety will grow at a moderate rate to 35 feet tall and 25 feet wide. It has a nicely rounded crown with strong horizontal limbs. Plant it where it has plenty of room to reach its full potential and give it a moderate amount of water. It is cold hardy to 20 degrees below zero.