You Asked, We Answered!
Naturally, the Nursery Professionals at our Garden Center receive lots of questions about the right time to perform various tasks in the landscape. We thought it might be helpful to share some of the questions we've received recently. We hope you enjoy these Winter tips!
When do I cut back my sweet grass?
Sweet Grass, or Muhly Grass, is a warm-season, ornamental grass that can be found all around the Charleston area. It's typically most noticed in Fall when its cotton-candy pink blooms appear - an impressive show that lasts for weeks! Sweet Grass will develop a straw-like appearance as the weather gets colder and the blades dry out. While it's tempting to cut this grass back when it starts to lose its green color, it's best to wait until late Winter or early Spring. Waiting to cut this grass back offers Winter protection for its roots in case of freezing temperatures.
Is it safe to plant trees and shrubs this time of year?
Yes! We are fortunate to be able to plant year round in the Charleston area. In fact, planting during colder weather can actually lessen transplant shock as plants are able to get acclimated well before the onset of Summer heat. When planting, we recommend amending your soil with our Brownswood Premium Planting Mix as well as a starter fertilizer such as Espoma Organic Bio-tone® Starter Plus to give your new plants their best start. Click here to download our planting guide.
When is the best time to plant flowering perennials?
While flowering perennials survive our mild Winter season, the best time to plant them is in Spring after the danger of a late frost has passed. This will ensure that flower buds are not damaged by cold weather. Another way of determining the right time to plant your favorite flowering perennials is when the selection of these plants becomes more plentiful at the Garden Center. While some varieties may be available sooner, early to mid-March is a good time to start checking for in stock perennials.
Which plants should I avoid pruning during the Winter?
While many shrubs and trees can be pruned during the Winter months, those that bloom in Spring should be avoided. Shrubs such as azalea, forsythia, loropetalum, and viburnum, for example, have already formed their Spring flower buds by Winter and should be pruned after flowering. Likewise, wait until Spring to prune Winter flowering shrubs such as camellias.
When do I prune my crape myrtle trees?
The best time to prune a crape myrtle tree is late Winter while the tree is dormant (leafless). We recommend pruning a crape myrtle minimally to maintain the canopy and overall health of the tree. Cut away dead or crossed branches and remove suckers growing from the base of the tree. You can also limb the tree up at this time, removing smaller, lower limbs along the trunk.