Tips to get your winter garden ready for spring

DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - There are still a few months left in winter.
And expert gardeners say now is the time to make sure your garden is prepared for when spring rolls around.

Phil Shealy has some of the prettiest camellias you'll see in Dothan.
Shealy says:
"My dad loved gardening and so I got all of my interest from my dad and my mother too for that matter."
He planted his camellias and azaleas more than 60 years ago.
"But just having that crave and love for gardening is what I've always had."
Shealy is one gardener that has had a bountiful harvest with proper care over the years.

He along with other gardeners say, pruning is key.
Lucy Edwards, Regional Extension Agent in HomeGrounds says:
"This time of year, getting into February...February 14, Valentine's Day is known as the pruning day-- so you'll begin to prune your roses, boxwoods, your hedges, um just some minimal tree pruning is good to be done in February."
But she has warning....
"Highly recommend you wait to prune your azaleas after they flower."

Some other advice, go ahead and plant trees and shrubs.
"The ideal times are going to be in the fall and late winter/early spring, that's because we typically have a little more rainfall during that time and it's not as hot so our plants can focus on establishing roots before having to worry about that summer heat."

Edwards says don't forget about your lawn.
"Lawns they can be sprayed with what they call a pre-emergent herbicide so that's one you're going to put out in February and it's going to kill those young, tender weeds right as they germinate."
"Fertilizing our grass and even landscape plants... I try to get homeowners to wait until everything is actively growing and green."
That's so they get the maximum amount of nutrients from the fertilizer

And last but not least...
"Think about you know your irrigation...we've been having some cold days so you might want to go ahead and start checking your irrigation lines, making sure things are functioning properly so come spring you're ready and those little to-do chores are done."
And if you're like Shealy, what some think of as chores becomes a hobby.
"And it's just like gardening, you're just real pleased with what you do."

For other winter gardening tips, visit our website: http://www.aces.edu/home-garden/lawn-garden/