Work on trees before new leaves appear

  • Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What a beautiful weekend we had this past week. I finally took the time to do some work in my yard, and I was glad I did. Many of my deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves) are either just starting to put on new leaves or still naked. The green weeds are easy to spot in the lawn or beds (yes, I get weeds too). Insect inventory, especially scale, is easy to evaluate at this time. Any sooty mold left behind from last year indicates other insects. With the recent rains, a search for any mosquito breeding areas was easy to do. I hate to ask this, but does anyone have moles?

Right now, before your deciduous trees put on new leaves, is an excellent time to take a close look at them. If your trees are larger, it is a great time to get a professional tree company in to look at them. Look for crossing and rubbing limbs or limbs that are growing toward the middle of the tree. Look for limbs that have died or look unhealthy.

By pruning these limbs now you can direct all the new leaves and growth to limbs you want to keep long term, and not waste the energy of the tree to put on new leaves that you are going to remove later.

When your tree is naked, vines growing up into the canopy are easy to spot along the trunk of the tree. Since the tree does not have any leaves, these vines are easier to remove than when the tree and vine have leaves. I pull these vines away from the tree, scrap off some bark and apply my “vine killer” to the open wound.

Weeds growing beneath the tree are easier to spot and deal with if you have a low-branching deciduous tree. My fig tree has these big leaves, so once the leaves come out, it is very hard to spray a herbicide underneath the tree without hitting the fig tree’s leaves. Spray now before the flush of leaves.

In the beds my main weed to deal with was wild onions. Wild onions are not controlled by preemergent herbicides; therefore, this weed was no surprise. I did see a perfect triangle of chickweed in one of my beds, indicating that I missed a spot last fall while I was applying my preemergent herbicide. It always amazes me how many weed seeds are waiting to germinate if you miss them with a preemergent herbicide.

If you have any Asiatic Jasmine or Ivy that has grown into areas you do not want it, right now, while it is putting on young tender growth, is going to be your best time to control it.

If you have been plagued by black sooty mold in the past, right now, apply Dominion Tree & Shrub as a drench to these plants to control the insects that produce the black sooty mold. Get it out now to protect the new foliage from insect attack. Insects, like us (cabbage, spinach, lettuce), like that young tender foliage.

The cooler nights have given us a longer window for preemerge products. Get them out now for less hot, gnatty, summertime weeding and competition for your plants.

Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a federal law.


(Bill Lamson-Scribner can be reached during the week at Possum’s Landscape and Pest Control Supply and at www.possums.com. Possum’s has three locations including one at 481 Long Point Rd. in Mount Pleasant (971-9601). Bring your questions to a Possum’s location, or visit http://www.possumsupply.com. You can also call in your questions to “The Garden Clinic,” Saturdays from noon to 1 p.m. on 1250 WTMA. The Horticulture Hotline is available 24 / 7 at www.MoultrieNews.com.)

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