Garden To Do List

THINGS TO DO IN JANUARY

  • Heavy Accumulations of Ice and Snow on trees and Shrubs - If limbs do break off, you can prune them but wait to reshape the plant until spring. Some branches that get bent may return to an upright position on their own.

  • Heavy Snow on Plants - You can lightly remove it with a broom or rake from the underside of the plant to reduce the weight load but do not attempt to remove ice. Just wait until it melts.

  • Burned Foliage on your evergreen shrubs, ignore it for the rest of the winter. It may not be the most attractive thing to look at it, but it will serve as extra protection for the plant for the remainder of the winter.

  • Pay Attention to the Forecast - Prior to a hard freeze make sure that any plants in containers have ample water. Soil in containers dries out much more quickly than soil in flower beds. Water newly planted trees or shrubs, and winter annuals if we have been dry leading up to a hard freeze.

  • Winter Annuals (such as pansies) - Deadhead and fertilize on a mild day.

  • Mulch - Add cardboard (keeps weeds down and moisture in soil), and then add 3 inch layer of wood mulch. If it’s a vegetable garden the last step would be a 6-12 inch layer of straw rather than wood mulch.

  • Trees and Shrubs - It’s best to plant them when they are dormant.

  • Winter is the time to grab a hot chocolate or hot tea and curl up with those garden catalogs.



THINGS TO DO IN FEBRUARY

  • Houseplants – Watch for spider mites and scale – insecticidal soap will control them and don’t overwater. More houseplants die from overwatering than underwatering.

  • Annuals and Vegetables – Place your catalog orders for now for the best supply. Try something new this year but resist ordering more than you can plant and maintain. “Easy to grow” may mean it will march across your driveway to your neighbor’s lot. “Reseeds freely” may mean you will be weeding this from your garden for years to come.

  • Lawns – February is a good time to apply lime if needed – if you are not sure, take a soil sample to the Extension Office in Bentonville for testing.

  • Roses – You can apply dormant spray but it is too early to do your spring pruning until late February or early March. If you prune and new growth appears, it may freeze if more cold weather hits.

  • Trees and shrubs – Keep monitoring the moisture and water if dry. Trees and shrubs can be planted if the soil is not frozen. Late in the month fertilize trees and shrubs – except for spring blooming shrubs. Prune crepe myrtles but do not prune spring blooming shrubs or you will remove the flowers.

  • Perennials – Most perennials can be divided and replanted in February but it will be beneficial to wait until late February or March. February is a very fickle and capricious month. A string of sunny warm days makes us want to believe Spring is here but no doubt more cold weather will come.

  • Grasses – Late February is the time to cut back grasses and liriope as low to the new growth as possible to remove the old dried growth.



THINGS TO DO IN MARCH

  • Annuals - Sort through any old seed packets you have. Most are good for 2 to 3 years but sow on the generous side. Don’t plant annuals too early or you will be replanting. Beds Clean them out, do any clipping you missed in the fall. Delay and it will get the best of you (I know from experience!)

  • Bulbs - Plant gladiolas at two-week intervals for longer blooms. Fertilize tulips and daffodils with bone meal to increase flower size. Don’t cut foliage – just let it dye back.

  • Houseplants - As growth resumes, start to fertilize again. It is much too early to move houseplants outside. Wait until nighttime temperatures are 50 degrees or more.

  • Lawns - Apply a pre-emergent for weed and crabgrass control by March 15th.

  • Perennials - You can begin to divide summer and fall bloomers now. Fertilize peonies and wisteria with super phosphate. Be sure your ornamental grasses and liriope are cut back by mid March before new growth is too tall.

  • Vegetables - Plant cabbage, kale, lettuce, peas, rutabaga, spinach and turnips. Onion sets can be planted later in the month. Start planting vegetable seeds like peppers, tomatoes indoors to be set out in 8 to 10 weeks.

  • Trees and Shrubs - Keep monitoring the moisture and water if dry. Trees and shrubs can be planted now. Do not prune spring blooming shrubs or you will remove the flowers.



THINGS TO DO IN APRIL

  • Humming Bird Feeders - Put them out April 1st. Use a 4-1 ratio water to sugar. You do not need to add red food coloring to attract the hummingbirds

  • Spring cleanup - Time to get the leaves cleaned out, weeds pulled and mulch put on the beds.

  • Perennials - This is the month we go full speed ahead with planting perennials, trees and shrubs.

  • Annuals - Hold off on planting annuals and herbs until about the end of April or later. There still may be a few nights in the 40s and they just don’t like those cool nights. You can start to plant seeds once the ground has warmed up. Some years it is May before it is safe.

  • Bulbs - Be sure and leave the foliage on spring blooming bulbs until they turn brown or for at least six to eight weeks. The city if full of beautiful “Bella Vista” daffodils! You can plant dahlias late this month but be sure to mark them with a stake.

  • Houseplants - I know you want to get some of them outside ASAP but please wait until night temperatures are 50 degrees or more… you both will be happier.

  • Lawns - Don’t fertilize until about 2 weeks after green up. You need 1” of water each week.

  • Roses - New growth is shooting out. Fertilize established roses but be sure to water before and after. Watch for black spot and treat early.

  • Vegetables - Time to get the vegetable garden ready to plant with cool weather crops which can be planted from Feb-April - Lettuce, Kale, Greens, Peas, Turnips, Radishes some beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots and many others who prefer the cool spring and fall weather.



THINGS TO DO IN MAY

  • Finish Planting - Don’t forget to mulch everything that you plant. You will be glad you did later in the season.

  • Annuals - Bedding plants can be set out and containers can be planted. Polymers that hold the water for the plant’s roots are very helpful in containers.

  • Herbs - When the nighttime temperatures are 50 and above consistently, you can plant your basil. Other herbs aren’t as temperature sensitive so they can be planted now too if you haven’t done so already. Most herbs need full sun but can tolerate some afternoon shade.

  • Bulbs - A feeding of bulb booster or bone meal will help. Be sure to leave the leaves on for 6 to 8 weeks after bloom. In mid May plant warm weather bulbs such as caladiums, cannas and elephant ears.

  • Perennials - Finish planting and dividing and mulch as you go. Labels help you remember names and placement.

  • Lawns - This is the period of rapid growth. Mow no more than 1/3 of the height of the leaf blade. Bermuda – apply a second pre-emergence crabgrass control treatment between May 15 and June 15. Fescues – fertilize with nitrogen only if your soil test indicates it is needed.

  • Roses - Watch for aphids and fungus. Aphids can be controlled by a hard spray from the hose in early morning so the foliage will dry before dark. Fertilize established roses because they are heavy feeders. Be sure plants are watered before applying fertilizer so you don’t burn the roots. Water deeply if we don’t get at least 1 inch of rain per week.

  • Trees and Shrubs - Prune spring flowering shrubs after they bloom. Newly planted trees and shrubs should be watered deeply each week until established. Feed azaleas and rhododendrons after bloom. Deadhead lilacs.

  • Vegetables - You can plant bush and pole snap beans and lima beans, cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, squash and tomatoes. Mulching tomatoes not only conserves water and chokes out weeds, but also prevents splitting and cracking. Water as needed and fertilize.



THINGS TO DO IN JUNE

  • Transition Month - It is the time to finish planting and don’t forget to mulch everything that you plant. You will be glad you did later in the season. It helps retain moisture and keeps the plants cooler in the heat of the summer. This is the time we reap the rewards of all that planting of perennials and annuals in April and May as the garden seem to come alive with color.

  • Annuals – Last chance to plant and deadhead often for continued bloom. Fertilizing and pinching back also avoids your plants growing tall and spindly.

  • Herbs – If you haven’t finished planting, be sure to do it early in the month. Pinch back any flowering herbs to prevent setting seeds. June to July is the time harvest that garlic you planted last October.

  • Bulbs – Spider lily and naked lady bulbs can be planted for fall bloom. Remove foliage of spring bulbs if it is brown.

  • Perennials – Daylilies should be blooming soon. Deadhead as blooms fade. Pinch back mums to remove buds until July 15 for a bushier plant.

  • Lawns – Bermuda – fertilize every 30-45 days, mow to maintain a height of 1.5 to 2”. Fescue – Mow to maintain a height of 2.5 to 3”. Lawns require a deep watering of one inch weekly.

  • Roses – Watch for aphids and fungus. Deadhead to encourage new blooms. Fertilize established roses because they are heavy feeders but be sure to water before applying fertilizer. Water deeply if we don’t get at least one inch of rain per week. June is when the Japanese Beetles arrive.

  • Trees and Shrubs – Prune dead limbs and tiny limbs starting on tree trunks. Newly planted trees and shrubs should be watered deeply each week until established. Leave a few inches between the trunk and mulch to avoid promoting rot and disease in the tree.

  • Vegetables – Monitor water and fertilize tomatoes and begin harvesting those great homegrown vegetables.



THINGS TO DO IN JULY

  • Watering – Be sure to “water smart”. Conserve water by using drip systems or soaker hoses, and by watering in the early morning or evening. Water deeply – not too often. Remember, 2 to 3 inches of mulch helps retain moisture and keeps the plants cooler in the heat of the summer.

  • Annuals & Herbs – Deadhead often for continued bloom. Remember to water before fertilizing so you don’t burn the roots. Pinch back to keep your plants from growing tall and spindly. Try making flavored oils and vinegars with your herbs.

  • Perennials - Pinch back mums to remove buds until July 15. Deadhead all of your flowering plants.

  • Lawns - Lawns require a deep watering of at least one inch weekly. Hold back on fertilizer during July and August. Raise your mower blades this month.

  • Roses - Watch for aphids and fungus. Japanese beetles have not been very bad this year again.

  • Trees and Shrubs – Check evergreens for scale and bagworms webworms. Destroy bagworms by burning them in a bucket. The shrubs and trees planted this spring need ample water.

  • Vegetables - You should be harvesting now but be sure to pick promptly for peak flavor and before the insects get the ripe ones.


THINGS TO DO IN AUGUST

  • Water and Deadhead - Usually the abundance of rain we normally get in June and early July comes to an end and the heat and drought set in for August. That can take a toll on most plants. So August is the month to water, water and water.

  • Annuals and Herbs - Some of the annuals have seen better days due to this excessive heat and may need to be pulled. If they are doing well, deadhead often for continued bloom. Pinch back to keep your plants from growing tall and spindly. Try making flavored oils and vinegars with your herbs or you can dry or freeze them. Harvest your basil to make pesto.

  • Perennials - Mums should be have set their buds and will be blooming soon. Deadhead blooms on perennials. Watch for water needs.

  • Lawns - Lawns require a deep watering of at least one inch weekly. Hold back on fertilizer during August. Raise your mower blades this month.

  • Roses - The last feeding should be done this month. Be sure to water well before fertilizing so you don’t burn the roots. Watch for aphids and fungus and treat any problems. Not too many Japanese Beetles this year.

  • Trees and Shrubs – Check evergreens for scale and bagworms. Those planted this year need ample water.

  • Vegetables - Enjoy your harvest and watch for pests. Plant fall crops later in the month when the weather cools – good choices include Chinese cabbage, beets, collards, spinach and turnips.

  • Webworms - Are showing up all over and can be unsightly but usually will not kill a tree. If the web is broken open, the wasps will take care of the worms inside for you.


THINGS TO DO IN SEPTEMBER

  • Annuals & Herbs - Keep deadheading often for continued bloom and continue to fertilize in September. Think about whether you want to save plants or seeds from the garden for next year. Dry herbs for cooking in the winter months.

  • Perennials - Deadhead blooms on perennials and divide those that are overcrowded. Now is a good time to divide spring-blooming perennials, iris and peonies. Many perennials benefit from fall planting because they have time to grow some roots and get established. Mums should be blooming and add more mums to your garden where you need fall color. Watch for water needs. Hostas and daylilies can be divided in fall or spring, but doing it in the fall ensures they have time to get established. Plants divided in spring can look disheveled in comparison.

  • Roses - The few Japanese Beetles we had this year are gone by now and there should be a new flush of blooms for the next few months. Keep deadheading and checking for black spot but stop fertilizing after early September.

  • Lawns - require a deep watering of at least one inch weekly. Late September is a good time to overseed fescue lawns. Freezing seeds for a few days helps germination. Apply fall pre-emergence herbicides to control winter weeds later in September.

  • Trees and Shrubs – Trees and shrubs can be planted later in September when the weather cools. Fall planting is most successful because the plant’s energy goes into root growth. Replenish mulch around trees and shrubs leaving an inch or two from the truck or stem.

  • Vegetables - As the weather starts to cool down we may get some vegetables to harvest. You can plant turnips, mustard, spinach, lettuce and radishes until mid September. Probably the most important thing you can do to keep diseases and pests controlled in your vegetable garden next year is a thorough clean-up now. Remove all old leaves and stems. Pull out your tomato plants and put them in the trash – not your compost pile. Don’t forget to rotate your crops.

  • Invasive plants - This is a good time to spray and kill invasives such as poison ivy, bush honeysuckle and privet. Why? Because in the fall all plants turn their energy to their major trunks, stems and roots, causing the plant to absorb and digest the herbicide quickly.



THINGS TO DO IN NOVEMBER

  • Put Your Garden to Bed - If you choose to ignore winter preparations, the world will not come to an end but it may mean a little more work in the spring when there is never enough time to get the garden up and running.

  • Annuals & Herbs -Summer annuals are basically gone for the year and you can plant pansies for winter color. Most herbs have died back but you can still harvest rosemary, parsley and chives during the fall.

  • Perennials Mums - are still showing some color. Do spray with deer repellent – they love mums. Some cut perennials back over the winter and some don’t. You’ll make wild birds happy if you leave a few stems and seed heads uncut that will provide food and shelter. DO NOT trim your salvia now. They have hollow stems and water can get in the stems and freeze the plant. If you have Monarda to attract butterflies, now is the time to cut back the stalks. Using a shovel, cut away 1/3 of the plant and re-plant elsewhere.

  • Roses - After a few freezes mulch roses for the winter. If they have grown pretty tall you may want to cut them back a little to about 3 feet so they won’t rock in the wind.

  • Lawns - Keep lawns free of fallen leaves... they smother the grass. Lawns should be 2” high going into winter.

  • Trees and Shrubs - November is about the last month to plant trees and shrubs. Monitor water over the winter months. Good time to cut dead branches off of Rose of Sharon.

  • Vegetables - Add organic matter to your vegetable beds to be ready for spring planting. This would be a great spot to dump and spread your mulched leaves.



THINGS TO DO IN DECEMBER

  • Annuals and Herbs - Mulch and monitor moisture on pansies and herbs if they are dry.

  • Bulbs - Try to get all spring blooming bulbs in the ground in early December. Mulch to protect from thawing and freezing and to conserve moisture.

  • Roses - After a few freezes mulch roses for the winter.

  • Lawns - Keep lawns free of fallen leaves... they smother the grass. Walking on frozen grass can cause bare spots. Use the sidewalks and paths when possible. Remember that salt is not a good thing to use on driveways if you have grass growing next to it.

  • Trees and Shrubs - Monitor water over the winter months and especially newly planted trees and shrubs. Water when needed. Prune evergreens for use in holiday decorations.

  • Tropicals and Houseplants - They still need water but not as much indoors in the winter months. Watch for pests and disease and treat promptly. Spray with insecticidal soap as needed. Keep poinsettias fresh with even moisture and plenty of light. Keep out of drafts and away from registers. Live Christmas trees need the water monitored daily. Recycle cut Christmas trees as fish shelter or wildlife habitat in the woods.

  • Perennials - Some cut perennials and mums back over the winter and some don’t. You’ll make birds happy if you leave a few stems and seed heads uncut that will provide food and shelter. Do not cut back your salvias or other hollow stemmed plants since moisture can get in the stem and freeze which will probably kill the plant.

  • Don’t forget to feed the birds over the winter - The colder it gets the more they need the protein from suet to keep them warm. Mainly enjoy the garden at rest and you can be entertained for hours just watching the birds especially when there is a blanket of snow on the ground.