Recovering from the winter freeze

Published 10:27 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2018


In early January, Beaufort County and the surrounding areas suffered an extended period of severe freeze with temperatures in the single digits. This uncommon occurrence has caused serious freeze damage to many plants, including azaleas, camellias, figs and our warm weather grasses. This does not necessary mean you have lost the plants. The best advice at this time is to wait until plants begin to show some green-up in late winter, which will help to distinguish what parts of the plants have actually died and what pruning is needed.

Ready to help county residents address this and other horticulture problems is Gene Fox, the horticulture agent for the Beaufort County Cooperative Extension with assistance from the Extension Master Gardener volunteers.

Extension Master Gardener volunteers are members of the local community who have an active interest in lawns, trees, shrubs, and garden and are enthusiastic and willing to learn and help others. After 40 hours of formal training by subject experts, Master Gardener volunteers serve 40 hours of internship to become certified by the state. Thereafter, Master Gardeners are required to work a minimum of 20 hours annually as volunteers under the direction of the horticulture agent to provide horticulture-related, research-based information to the public.

For those interested in becoming Master Gardener volunteers, the only class this year will convene in February and run through mid-April. Classes will be held on Tuesday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to noon at the Beaufort County Extension Center, 155-A Airport Road, Washington. Applications are due by Friday, Feb. 9, with a fee of $110 due on the first day of class. Application forms and other information are available at the Extension Center (call 252-946-0111) and can also be found online at and

Dan Bergbauer is a certified Master Gardener volunteer.


Gardening Calendar February

Lawn Care

Spot spray wild onions with the recommended herbicide.



Spread ashes from the fireplace around gardens and bulb beds where soil pH is below 6.0. Avoid acid-loving plants. (3 lbs of ash = 1 lb of limestone)

Shade trees can be fertilized.

Emerging spring flowering bulbs can be fertilized.



Asparagus crowns can be planted at this time.

Early February, sow beets, carrots, peas, lettuce, mustard, radish, spinach, Irish potatoes, and turnips.

Consider planting pansies in your salad garden for added color.

New grape vines and fruit trees can be planted in the landscape at this time.



Hardwood cuttings of many landscape plants like forsythia (yellow bells), flowering quince, weigela, crape myrtle, juniper, spirea and hydrangea can be taken this month.

Perennials like daylily and Shasta daisy can be divided at this time if the ground is dry enough.



Prune grape vines

Prune Roses, by Feb. 15

Prune deciduous trees and shrubs

Ornamental grasses like liriope and pampass grass should be trimmed and divided.

Weeds or unnecessary trees should be removed from the landscape.



Peach and nectarine trees need to be sprayed with a fungicide to prevent leaf curl.

Spray all fruit trees with dormant oil to eliminate some insects. This is especially important if the tree has just been pruned.


Other Activities

Now is a good time to fix or clean old birdhouses and put up new ones.

Develop a gardening plan for your landscape so you can start preparing for the spring.

Consider ordering new varieties along with tried-and-true varieties to see how they compare. Experimenting with varieties is fun and has virtually no ill effects.

Start seeds indoors in good planting medium

Don’t forget to order flowers for your sweetheart or else your garden will be the least of your worries — Happy Valentine’s Day!