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|Buncombe County Center February 2020 GARDENING IN THE MOUNTAIN SERIES|
February 20, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
“Pruning Fruit Trees“as Nothing is better than a beautiful, ripe, luscious fruit picked from a tree in your own backyard. Whether you are at the planning stage or have fruit trees already in place, tree maintenance is critical to healthy fruit production year after year. Among those maintenance tasks is proper pruning to create optimal limb structure and to remove dead, diseased, and damaged limbs. Knowing how to do it the right way will pay off with healthier, larger fruit and bigger yields. Come join Dr. William Terry Kelley, Henderson County Extension Director and Fruit Tree Agent, and learn how to prune your fruit trees. Dr. Kelley will lecture and demonstrate the right techniques for pruning fruit trees in Western North Carolina.
The talk is free but registration is required. Please click on the link below to register. If you encounter problems registering or if you have questions, call 828-255-5522.
REGISTER ON EVENTBRITE HERE LOCATIONS:
Mountain Horticultural Crop Research and Extension Center455 Research Drive Mills River, NC asasSATURDAY SEMINAR SERIES
Saturday February 2210:00 am – 12:00 pmaa“Getting Your Soil Ready for Vegetable Gardening“Presenters: Judy Deutsch and Barb Harrison, Extension Master GardenerSM Volunteers As you sit by a cozy fire with seed catalogs in hand and dream of your vegetable garden for 2020, you need to think about how to prepare your soil to have the best possible crop. Judy Deutsch will talk about soil testing-how to do a test and how to interpret the results. She will also cover soil fertilizers and amendments. If you are using raised beds, Barb Harrison will tell you how to obtain or create soil for those beds. Judy and Barb will also teach you how to start seeds at home, so you’ll be ready for the growing season. Plan and prepare your soil now for a successful garden in 2020. The talk is free, but seating is limited and registration is required. Please click on the link below to register. If you encounter problems registering or if you have questions, call 828-255-5522.
REGISTER ON EVENTBRITE HERE
LOCATION:NC Cooperative Extension Buncombe County Center 49 Mount Carmel Road Asheville, NC 28806 asasTHE LEARNING GARDEN presents…Wednesday March 11th
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm“Pruning Roses“
Presenter: Judy Deutsch, Extension Master GardenerSM Volunteers In Western North Carolina, roses are pruned in the early spring, traditionally when the forsythia blooms. It’s the time to remove unwanted or unhealthy canes, reduce size, and shape the rose for optimal growth and health. We will start in the classroom with a discussion about the proper tools for pruning and tips on how to prune. You will have an opportunity to sharpen your pruners. Afterwards, weather permitting, we will move to the Learning Rose Garden to do some pruning. Please bring garden gloves and pruners, and dress appropriately for the weather. The talk is free, but seating is limited and registration is required. Please click on the link below to register. If you encounter problems registering or if you have questions, call 828-255-5522.
REGISTER ON EVENTBRITE HERE
LOCATION:NC Cooperative Extension Buncombe County Center 49 Mount Carmel Road Asheville, NC 28806 asFEBRUARY GARDEN CHORES
LAWNS* Tune up and sharpen your mower along with other equipment and hand tools.* Now is a good time for the spring application of a slow-release lawn fertilizer. Be sure to sweep fertilizer from walks and driveways to prevent run off into storm drains.* If you have bare spots, late February and early March are good times to over seed. * Consider making changes to your lawn this coming season to reduce maintenance costs and time. Tolerate some diversity for instance. Many weeds provide important resources for pollinators – especially early spring bloomers.
ORNAMENTALS* Cut back ornamental grasses as well as liriope and mondo grass. * If you didn’t get all the spring bulbs planted before, try to get them in now. Sort through and discard any that are soft. * Water recently planted evergreens, including live christmas trees. Evergreen plants can dry out during sunny winter days.* Inspect houseplants for insects such as spider mites, scale and whiteflies. Treat as needed. * Spray dormant oil, especially if you have had a mite or scale problem. Wait for daytime temperatures to reach 45 degrees and are not predicted to drop below freezing for 24 hours. * Evergreen shrubs can be pruned. Keep in mind that needled evergreens will not re-sprout if cut back into old wood or beyond the needles. * Check landscape beds for winter weeds. Pull bittercress and chickweed before they flower. * Many varieties of shrubs can be pruned back severely to renovate old or overgrown growth. Late February or March is the best time to do this. * Clean up dead stems and grasses in the perennial garden.
FRUIT * Mature apple and pear trees can be pruned. Wait until March to prune young fruit trees, peaches and plums. * Again spray dormant oil, especially if you have had a mite or scale problem. * Plant fruit trees, grapes and brambles. * Prune grape vines and highbush blueberries. * Apply fresh mulch on blueberries to keep shallow roots cool and weed free. * Do not prune fruit trees until March–especially peaches.
GO HERE or more information on pruning fruit trees and HERE for blackberries and raspberries and HERE for blueberries!
VEGETABLES* Check your seed supply before ordering more. Seeds more than a couple of years old should probably be replaced. Do a germination test if in doubt. * Start your garden plan on paper as you browse garden catalogs. Review last year’s notes or memories for what worked and how much was too much. * If you have any winter vegetables in a greenhouse or under plastic, remember to vent on sunny days to prevent over heating.
* If the soil is dry enough to work, go ahead and prepare a spot for a late February planting. * English and edible pea pods, spinach, kale, and a few other cold-hardy crops can be planted late February through March. * This is an excellent time to plant the asparagus bed. Thorough bed preparation is important.* Mow or cut back cover crops and turn whenever the soil isn’t too wet to work.
OTHER* Clean out birdhouses and set up new ones. Bluebirds and some other songbirds start scouting for spring nesting boxes.* Clean out and organize the garden storage area. Check tools and equipment before you need them. Brush dirt from shovels andhard rakes and apply a light oil to prevent rust.* Use deicing salt sparingly. Sweep excess off pavement as soon as it has dried. This prevents runoff into adjacent landscape areas and water supplies.
HANDLING BARE ROOT PLANTS
Many small and tree fruit plants are shipped bare root this time of year.Photo credit: Mary Carol SheffieldThis means they are dormant (not actively growing) and do not contain soil or planting medium around the roots.
Handling these plants in a timely manner is critical for good establishment and growth.
GO HERE for an good publication from UGA providing information on storing, planting and caring for your bare root fruit plants.
HOUSEPLANTS IN WINTER
This time of year houseplants can be struggling with the typical indoor environment; low light and low humidity and either cool or very warm air temperatures.
Some like the Spider Plant or Chlorophytum shown in the image here can tough it out while others aren’t so tolerant.
GO HERE to check out the North Carolina Extension Gardener Handbook and learn more about caring for houseplants indoors.
CLICK HERE FOR THE Western North Carolina Planting Calendar for Annual Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs
STARTING YOUR FIRST VEGETABLE GARDEN?aaGetting a good start can make all the difference in having success and a good experience when you first begin to garden. Start small, select a site with good light and access to water, take time to amend the soil and grow vegetables and flowers that will produce without too much fuss. aaConsider radishes*, salad greens* (lettuce, spinach, arugula and corn salad), green beans*, green onions, strawberries, peppers, bush zucchini*, cherry or bush tomatoes, herbs, annual flowers, zinnias*. aaThe ones with an * can be started easily from seed direct sown into the garden. Otherwise look for starts or transplants at your local nursery or tailgate market.aaDon’t be discouraged. Each growing season is another opportunity to learn and grow!
CLICK HEREto learn more
STOP THINK AND PRUNE
Before you go outside to prune STOP and take a moment to ask yourself the following questions… knowing WHY you prune will help you know HOW to prune.
#1 Do I know the plant and it’s natural habit?– If the answer is YES proceed to #2- If the answer is NO read up on the plant and get to know it better.
Plants are like people and have a natural shape and character. Unless you are shearing a hedge, creating a topiary or maintaining a bonsai, pruning is needed only to help maintain it’s natural form, health and appearance of the plant. #2 Do I know when this plant typically blooms?– If the answer is YES proceed to #3- If the answer is NO and you are pruning a flowering shrub or vine go back to #1
It can be important to do know when the plant typically flowers. A common problem is pruning at the wrong time of year and removing flower buds. This happens when spring flowering shrubs (Mophead hydrangeas, forsythia, azaleas) are pruned in the winter, removing flower buds.
#3 Am I pruning to…..Improve health and appearanceMaintain or reduce sizeEnhance its natural formIncrease light and air circulationRemove weak growth and spent flowersRemove Dead, Dying, Diseases and Damaged wood?- If the answer is YES then proceed to #4- If the answer is NO then put the pruners up and go back in the house!
#4 Do I know where to begin? – If the answer is YES – Go for it!- If the answer is NO proceed to #5
#5 Use the list below to help guide what cuts to make.4 D’s – Dead, Dying, Diseased and DamagedInward growing, crossing or rubbingSuckersVigorous upright shoots and sproutsCo-dominate Leaders in treesGrowth below graft unionsLow branchesGo slow and stop often, Step back to review and gauge your progress. It’s important to know when to stop. You can cut off a branch but you can’t stick it back on.
Sometimes removing deadwood and branches that are crossing or growing inwards is enough.
GO HERE For more information on pruning landscape plants.
NOW IS THE TIME TO…..CUT BACK GRASSES & PERENNIALS
FOR PERENNIALS : Look for green foliage at the base of flowering stems left from last year. Cut to remove old stems leaving green foliage in place.
FOR ORNAMENTAL GRASSES: Cut back old stems within 6 – 12″ of the ground.a
WHAT IS A BEE FRIENDLY LAWN?According to the Univ of Minnesota Flowering Bee Lawn Toolkit, a bee friendly lawn can better support bees and also maintain uses and views that the traditional lawn does. They have found that 56 species of bees feed on Dutch white clover alone, so simply by adding white clover to the mix can make a difference.
Bee Lawns can be part of over seeding or new lawn renovation. Once installedthis type of lawn should require minimal maintenance with a few adjustments to typical lawn practices.
CLICK HERE to access the Glowering Bee Lawn Tool Kit!
FEBRUARY FERTILIZER FOR LAWNS Did you know that NCSU recommends fertilizing lawns in September, November and Feburary? In fact 1lb of actual Nitrogen per 1000 sq ft in February is all that is needed for the season until September rolls around again.
High rates or repeated low rates of nitrogen applied to cool-season grasses in the spring or summer may increase the severity of brown patch (Rhizoctonia species), which can kill the grass.
CLICK HERE to for a Cool Season Lawn Maintenance Calendar
BUNCOMBE EXTENSION MASTER GARDENERS WINS AWARD
Exploring Nature Through Summer CampHands-on gardening experiences in childhood can cultivate a life-longappreciation for nature. EMG volunteers, in collaboration with the Asheville Parks and Recreation Department, provided this opportunity during a day camp focused on the basics and benefits of gardening. EMG volunteers planned and led hands-on activities that illustrated the importance of soil, insects, pollinators, birds, worms, flowers, fruits and vegetables.
Students’ favorite activities were making worm bins, painting bird houses, insect hunting, pressing flowers, and making bird feeders. Students were particularly excited to bring home literature and activities to share with theirfamilies. EMG volunteers had as much fun as the kids!
Search for Excellence is the recognition program of EMG volunteer work throughout North Carolina. It celebrates outstanding educational, group projects that result in significant learning by the public or EMG volunteers.
SOIL & WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT PLANT SALE
MARCH 5 & 6th 8 AM – 6 PM or until sold out
49 Mount Carmel Road, Asheville, NC.
Click HERE for plant list and more information
aasSAVE THE DATEMASTER GARDENER PLANT SALE
Saturday May 9In partnership with the Asheville Blue Ridge Rose Society Location: American Red Cross parking lot, 100 Edgewood Road, just off Merrimon Ave
SIGN UP NOW!The Buncombe County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers (EMGVs for short!) produce a blog on a variety of topics including current insect and disease issues and gardening tips and activities for all ages and abilities.
Click here to sign up! NEED HELP WITH GARDEN QUESTIONS… Identifying plants, insects, diseases?asThe Garden Helpline and Office Hours are open year round from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm on weekdays.
Call (828) 255-5522 or bring your problem/question to 49 Mt. Carmel Rd. (Please bring samples large enough for plant identification). LEARN MORE ABOUT NC STATE EXTENSIONHEREContact:
Alison Arnold, Extension Agent, Consumer Horticulture
49 Mt. Carmel Rd., Asheville, NC 28806