This week’s gardening tips: Looks like we will have an early spring this year. The azaleas are in full bloom about three weeks ahead of time.
Fertilize roses now with a general-purpose fertilizer or rose fertilizer following package directions. Begin spraying susceptible varieties of roses for disease (black spot) and insect problems (thrips and aphids).
Check your oak trees (use binoculars) for masses of young, black buck moth caterpillars and consider having your tree sprayed if you see large numbers.
Over the next few weeks, make notes on your spring-flowering bulbs while they are blooming. Record when they bloom, how well they performed and other relevant information. This will help you plan what to plant this coming fall.
Begin planting warm-season vegetables, such as tomatoes and bell peppers (use transplants for these two), cucumbers, corn, snap beans and squash. Even though we may still get some chilly weather and you could need to cover a few things, it is unlikely we will see harsh cold at this point. The great advantage of early planting is increased production during the milder early summer period and often fewer pest problems. For a free copy of the Vegetable Planting Guide, contact your parish LSU AgCenter Extension office.
Dan Gill is a horticulturist with the LSU AgCenter.