Sunday, February 25, 2018
Home and Garden

Timely Tendings: Prune your azaleas, plant spring annuals and caladium tubers

Azaleas should be pruned when they finish blooming. Even the dwarf varieties benefit from pruning, which stimulates new growth, eliminates leggy growth and produces a bushier plant. Azaleas are generally fertilized in February, May, August and November. Those who missed the February fertilization can fertilize now to accelerate new growth and then skip the May fertilization. The August fertilization will need to be done with an ordinance compliant summer product that contains no nitrogen or phosphorous. Use a fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.

Oak leaf blister is a disease we see nearly every spring. It develops during cool, wet weather, becoming epidemic at times and infecting almost every leaf on the tree. While the blisters may be unsightly and cause excessive leaf fall, this disease seldom causes permanent damage.

Winter annuals will soon need replacing. It's not too early to start spring and summer annuals from seed. It is usually best to start seeds in a fresh, sterile, potting mixture. It takes four weeks or so before seedlings are ready to be planted in your garden. Rejuvenate the bed by raking out all leftover plant material and adding new organic matter.

It's time to plant caladium tubers to add color to your summer landscape. Tubers should be planted two inches deep in loose, well-drained soil. Caladiums give a splash of color in shade or partial sun. Several strap leafy varieties have been introduced that perform well in full sun.

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