New Year Garden Chores

William Hogan  |  12/16/2010 8:53:27 PM

The Southwest Louisiana Rice and Soybean Forum will be held Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at the Welsh Community Center in Welsh, LA. The program will begin at 8:00 am - This will be the first agronomy educational meeting of the new year and we have tried to plan an interesting and informative event. LSU AgCenter researchers, extension specialists, agents and industry leaders will make presentations on a variety of topics relative to both crops. Speakers and topics include: Rice Production Practices for 2011 Practices-Dr. Johnny Saichuck, Rice Specialist; Rice Fertility Research-Dr. Dustin Harrell, Rice Station Researcher; Rice Insect Pest Management-Dr. Natalie Hummel, LSU Department of Entomology; Rice Variety Update-Dr. Steve Linscombe, LSU AgCenter Rice Breeder; Rice Weed Pest Management-Dr. Eric Webster, LSU AgCenter Weed Science Researcher; Rice Disease Management-Dr. Don Groth, Rice Pathology Researcher; Soybean and Rice Market Outlook-Dr. Kurt Guidry, LSU Department of Agricultural Economics; Soybean Varieties and Management Practices- Dr. Ronald Levy, Soybean Specialist; Soybean and Wheat Disease Management-Dr. Boyd Padgett, LSU AgCenter Plant Pathologist; 2010 Southwest LA Soybean Demonstrations (Varieties, Fungicides and Broadleaf Weed Management)-Allen Hogan, County Agent; and Weed Control and Use of Harvest Aids in Soybean-Dr. James Griffin, LSU Department of Plant, Soil and Environmental Sciences.

A lunch will be served at noon. The lunch and refreshments are courtesy of sponsors. The Southwest Louisiana Rice and Soybean Forum will conclude at 1:30 pm.

All interested persons are invited to attend and participate in the 2011 Southwest LA Rice and Soybean Forum.

New Year Garden Chores- If weather permits, there are a few items that can be taken care of as we head into the new year. Ryegrass lawns would probably benefit from an application of nitrogen fertilizer in January. Nitrogen is largely responsible for a dark, green color in most plants and is instrumental in the production of vigorous new growth. Even if adequate nitrogen fertilizer was applied at planting, rain and fluctuating temperatures have reduced its availability to the ryegrass plants. Two to three pounds of ammonium nitrate (34-0-0) fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of lawn should give a pale, slow growing ryegrass lawn a quick start. This application can be repeated in early to mid February. As time permits, you can remove old, dead flower blooms from cool-season plant beds. This will not only improve the appearance of the bed, but will also extend the blooming period of the plants. Mulch around shrubs and flowers should be maintained. Under present conditions, it’s not so much to conserve moisture, but to prevent winter weeds and to protect roots from severe freezes that we might later experience. Now is also a convenient time to prune any non-flowering trees or landscape plants that need it. Many have few or no leaves at this time of year and handling the pruned limbs will be easier. Avoid pruning those plants that will bloom in spring or you will prune away the buds that have been set. As usual, roses are a special case.

Pruning Roses- this is a garden chore that generally takes place twice per year in Louisiana. The first pruning of many rose varieties should take place in the end of January. The traditional pruning technique for hybrid tea roses is to encourage the production of high quality flowers with long stems for cutting. To achieve flowers of this type involves rather hard pruning, back to 18 to 24 inches at this late winter pruning and pruning again back to 24 to 30 inches in late summer. LSU horticulturists currently recommend a less severe pruning.

Roses are pruned primarily to remove dead wood, stimulate new growth and control size and shape. The current recommendation for hybrid tea roses is to cut the bush to the desired height (usually 2 to 3 feet). Remove all dead wood, diseased canes and spindly growth entirely. Cut each remaining canes just above a bud. Leaving an outward-facing bud will improve the flower display. Florabundas, polyanthus shrub roses, miniatures and old garden roses require only moderate pruning to shape them and remove dead wood.

Some rose cultivars (such as ramblers, some climbing roses and some old garden roses) bloom prolifically in spring and early summer. Then they stop for the year. These generally bloom on growth from the previous summer. Do not prune these in winter or spring. Wait until the blooming has stopped in summer. To prune these in winter will reduce or eliminate flowering in the spring.

I wish all of you a happy Christmas and a prosperous 2011!

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