‘Winter Cleaning’ Better

first_imgSpring cleaning is a time-honored tradition. In the yard, though, aUniversity of Georgia scientist said “wintercleaning” is a better idea.”You can prevent a lot of spring problems by doing some work now,” saidTaft Eaker, an extensionÿhomeowner IPM (integrated pest management) specialist with the UGA Collegeof Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.Eaker manages the university’s Homeowner Plant IPM Diagnostic Clinic,which diagnoses insect- and disease-causing agents of homeowner plant samples.The Homeowner IPM lab handles about 2,000 home plant samples per year.”Here in the lab we identify many diseases and insects that could havebeen controlled by doing a little work through the winter,” he said. “Thatlittle bit of work can save many dollars in control of these problems orin replacing plants.”Raking leaves, removing spent flowers and cleaning up fallen limbs removesoverwintering sites for insect pests, he said. And getting rid of the bugs’winter homes will make them less plentiful next spring.”Diseases overwinter in that debris, too,” Eaker said. “That’s anotherreason to clean it up. The disease organisms may go dormant through thecold season, so you may not see signs that they’re there. But come spring,you may have problems.”Cleanup is important in home orchards, gardens and landscapes, Eakersaid.In the orchard, prune dead branches from fruit trees, he said. Yourcounty extension agent can show you how to prune properly to avoid damagingtrees.Cut back bunch grape and muscadine vines to the main stem. Destroy weedsand clean up any plant debris and fallen fruit.In the landscape, he said, prune shrubbery in winter only for correctivereasons.Remove old mulch from flower beds and from around trees and fruit bushesand destroy it. Or add it to your compost pile.last_img

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