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Gardening with Wanda: Arborists and transplanting
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Let's answer some questions that I have received over the past few weeks.

Question: I am in need of an arborist in the Hall County area and wondered if I could get some recommendations.

Answer: The Hall County Extension office can provide a list of certified arborists that will come out to your property and make an assessment. Remember when talking with them to get quotes and a good understanding on their costs and services.

Also, Gainesville now has arborists on staff to help citizens with questions about trees and tree care.

You can call us at the extension office for their number, too.

Q: I need to know what is a good fertilizer to use of my fruit-bearing trees, especially pecans in the North Hall area where the soil is red clay mixed with rocky slate?

A: Fertilization is one of the most important practices for fruit-bearing trees. A good maintenance schedule is a must for pecan, apple, peach and pear trees, as well as blueberries, figs and such.

Fertilizers should be applied in mid to late March.

A soil test would be a good indicator of what the soil might be lacking. In the absence of a soil analysis, broadcast a complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10. Lime and zinc might also be needed. Check your pH with a soil test and find out what nutrients your trees may lack. The Extension also has great publications on these to keep you on a maintenance schedule with your fruit and nut trees.

Q: I have heard that transplanting deciduous (leaf-dropping) shrubs such as azaleas etc., should be done in the winter. Is this true?

A: Yes, now is a good time to transplant shrubs and small trees if needed. They are in a dormant stage and the cool weather gives them time to establish a strong root system. Wait for a warm day when the ground is not frozen.

Q: I need to prune some of my plants that are overgrown. What can I prune in January and February?

A: Shrubs that bloom on branches that are produced during the current growing season (on new wood) generally should be pruned during the winter, before spring growth begins.

Some examples are Beautyberry, Chastetree(Vitex), Crape Myrtle, Fall blooming hydrangeas (PeeGee, Annabelle), Gardenia, shrub roses and Butterfly bushes. For a complete list and pruning schedule, call the Extension office and I will send you more information.

Did you know?

Remember, a garden in winter is mainly nature's show. It can create many special effects: the drama of shadows in the snow, taupe-colored grasses against a wintry sky, bare branches and textured barks on trees against a blue sky canvas. Marvel at the many effects the winter landscape can create. Gone are the vivid colors of summer, but nonetheless a subtle, beautiful portrait emerges. Enjoy this dormant season!

Gardening tip

Now is a great time to clean up around your yard and use your hardscape pieces to feed and water the wildlife. Clean and sterilize all of your gardening tools. Sharpen your mower blades. Be ready for the warmer months ahead.

Wanda Cannon works as a Horticulture Assistant at the Hall County Extension office and is a Certified Master Gardener and Coordinator. She would love to answer your gardening questions! Drop her a line at or call 770-535-8293.

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