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Tree care for February

By Ray Ridlen

February is an important month to start caring for your fruit trees, ornamental trees and shrubs.

For peach tree care, start by pruning your tree by mid-February.

You should then protect your peach tree against peach leaf curl by applying a lime-sulfur spray. Timing is critical. You can achieve 98 percent disease control if the mixture is applied before bud swell. After bud swell, effectiveness of disease control drops off rapidly.

Next, broadcast fertilizer over the root area of your peach tree. The roots spread out past the tree limbs. If the limbs reach out as far as ten feet from the tree trunk, fertilize from 3 to 15 feet in a circle out from the trunk. Use one pound of 10-10-10 or similar fertilizer per tree, per year of the tree age, up to a maximum of 6 pounds per tree.

Pears do better under lower fertilization and should receive only 1/2 pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer per tree per year of the tree age.

Maximum rate of 10-10-10 fertilizer to use, regardless of fruit tree age:

--Apples: 10 pounds;

--Peaches, apricots, and nectarines: 6 pounds;

--Plum and cherry: 8 pounds; and

--Pears: 6 pounds;

February is also the time for the first fertilization of ornamental trees and shrubs. For a mature tree, use one pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of tree root area now. Repeat application again in early September. Two pounds of urea (46-0-0) will supply one pound actual nitrogen.

Date: 2/25/2013

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