Beating the cold weather blues

By Jim Colman

Sometimes we forget how lucky we are to live here.  My wife and I visited the St. Louis area over the New Year’s holiday. On our last day there it snowed and was 11 degrees on our way to the airport. The day after we left, a cold front moved in. We were happy to get back to our Lowcountry home and typically mild weather.

We have, however, experienced colder than normal temperatures this winter in the Lowcountry.  Most have experienced or at least noticed a lot of plant die-back this season, much more so than in recent memory.

The questions are:  What to do with the dead foliage? And, what will come back?

First, the foliage: If you can stand the appearance, it would be best to leave it until after the danger of the last frost passes. This would be around end of March. The died-back foliage serves as insulation to protect the rest of the plant and the root system, which gives greater protection and greater potential for the plant to survive. I could not wait because I hated the way my property looked so I cut it all back.  I’m hoping there will be no more deep or protracted cold weather.

What will come back?  Well, we just can’t be certain because it was colder for longer than normal. In years past, philodendron, ginger, dianella, liriopes, roses and many other ornamental plants have all bounced back after extreme cold.  My guess is that they will again.  Anyway, I sure hope so.

A couple words on other topics such as irrigation. There is no need for irrigation right now unless for annual beds. Otherwise, leave it off until spring.  Don’t forget to check it out or have it checked out for any possible cold weather damage. And, just a reminder, it’s best to water too little than to water too much.

February is a good month to apply a pre-emergent herbicide to your turf areas. This helps keep seed heads from germinating and ultimately helps control weeds in turf during Spring/Summer months. Do not fertilize warm season grass until around first of May to avoid early green up and exacerbate potential for damage by late winter cold snaps.

Shrubs will benefit from general purpose fertilization around the beginning of April.

For more information, call Jim Colman at Lawn Solutions, 522-9578 or visit www.lawnsolutions.us.  Lawn Solutions is a U.S. veteran owned small business serving Beaufort since 1998.

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