MOORESVILLE – This time of year, sleet and snow make an appearance and the cold snap hits, forcing people to crank up their heaters or light a fire in their living rooms. But just outside their front door, their plants can’t turn up the thermostat or crawl under a warm blanket. The Herald Citizen reached out to Adam Brawley of Brawley Garden Center in Mooresville, a local store with three generations of gardening and plant expertise, to discuss what people should be thinking about during the cold snap and going into the renewal season of spring.
HC: Christmas trees and wreaths have already been cut, what should people plan to do with them after the holiday is over?
AB: If the tree is well-watered it will last a couple days. As for a wreath, you can spray it with water four to five times a day to keep it alive longer. Then, throw them away because they are fire hazards.
HC: What kind of plants should be covered during a cold snap?
AB: Some tender perennials, such as figs, will benefit from being covered with a frost blanket. If not protected, they can freeze to the ground. The best advice is that if you have a fig tree, to go ahead and cover it.
HC: Many people locally have roses, which can be tricky to keep healthy. What should they do in the winter months?
AB: In late January, roses are dormant, and you’ll want to do your early pruning then. You’ll want to cut back to 18-23 inches and thin to three to five of the thickest main canes.
HC: Are there certain flowers that do best when planted now?
AB: There’s still time to plant spring blooming bulbs like daffodils and tulips. They generally require eight weeks of vernalization, which is a prolonged cold period that triggers them to go into a blooming stage when it warms back up.
HC: Is there any advice you have for people concerned about their fruit trees during the winter?
AB: Prune fruit trees while dormant in winter. If you need to trim them or shorten them you can, it’s a good time to take down height. Pears do OK, apples, peaches. But fruit trees are hard, and they don’t do well here.
HC: Going back to fruit trees, is there anything that can protect them?
AB: In February, spray them down with dorm spray, or if you want to go the organic route, neem oil, which helps. When stems swell up in late winter, that’s when you spray them down.
HC: What can people look forward to planting crop-wise?
AB: First crops coming up, you’ll be able to plant in late February. Start thinking asparagus, Irish potatoes, onions, below ground crops, which roll in first, then later your cabbage, lettuce and cauliflower.
HC: How about trees, anything else people can do to preserve them?
AB: You have a couple weeks to wrap hardwood trees, apply trapping gum for cankerworms sometime over the next four to five weeks. Female, wingless moths will crawl up the trees and lay eggs in an oak tree. Trapping gum will get them stuck. They’re really bad in Charlotte, Mooresville and Davidson.
HC: How can people get more help or advice?
AB: Visit Brawley Garden Center at 982 N. Main S.t, Mooresville, NC 28115, USA or call 704-663-5553.