January is about to come to an end and it sure feels like Spring. But, don’t let the weather fool you. It is not Spring just yet. No matter what the birds and sunshine seem to say. Many of the plants in the garden have been fooled as well. Roses and other shrubs are putting on new growth. Some perennials are even coming out of dormancy. Just don’t forget it is only January! We could still be in for a nice freeze in February, or even an ice storm. So be sure to have some old sheets or freeze cloth on hand to cover your plants’ tender parts!
Other things to watch for with the warm weather are pest and disease problems.
Fleas and ticks and fire ants are already popping up and becoming a problem. Applying beneficial nematodes now will help control them. Just be sure to turn the irrigation on and set it to run every 7 to 10 days, because nematodes need moisture to survive and eat all the bad guys. Take active measures now, because if we do not get a nice hard freeze this February then we will be in for a Spring full of pests.
Fungi such as Take-All Patch and Brown Patch also love mild and moist conditions. I recommend topdressing in late February or early March with a high quality compost. If you know you already have a fungal problem in the lawn, then a spring application of corn meal would also be a very good idea.
Be proactive and keep an eye out for pest and disease symptoms early this year.