Here are some dos and don’ts for the new year as we move into the colder months of January and February.
l Don't fertilize newly set out trees or shrubs unil after they have started to grow, and then only very lightly, the first year.
l When buying plants, the biggest is not always the best, especially with bare-rooted plants. The medium to small sized (4 to 6 feet) usually become established faster and will become effective in the landscape more quickly than the large sizes.
l Complete the bare-root planting of woody landscape plants his month. Container and ball-and-burlapped plants are in good supply and can be set out most any time. Winter and early spring planting provides an opportunity for good establishment before hot weather comes.
l Make preparations to prune roses in March or April. Use good shears that will make clean cuts.
Remove dead, dying, and weak canes. Leave four to eight healthy canes and remove approximately one-half of the top growth along the height of the plant.
l Now is an excellent time to select and plant container-grown roses to fill in bare spots in your rose garden.
l Wait until after they finish flowering before pruning spring-flowering shrubs such as quince, azalea, forsythia and spiraea.
l When pruning shrubs, follow these steps:
(1) prune out any dead or damaged branches first;
(2) thin out by removing about one-third of the canes or stems at ground level, removing the oldest canes only;
(3) shape the rest of the plant but do not cut everything back to the same height.
l Plant dahlia tubers in late February and early March.
l Plant gladiolus corms; space planting dates at two-week intervals to extend flowering season.
l Fertilize pansies once again for continued flowering. Don't forget to water when needed.
l A potted plant, tree, shrub, or cut flowers make excellent Valentine gifts for loved ones and shut-ins.
Tom Dominguez is an agent with the Quay County Extension, NMSU Extension Service. He can be reached by calling 461-0562 or emailing email@example.com.