Stephen Jones Landscape Management Tip of the Month

MARCH 2011

Just a few more days and Spring will finally be here.  Early blooming spring trees are in full bloom at this time from cherries, to Bradford Pears, purple leaf plums, and before the end of the month many of our hardwood trees such as maples, oaks, and elms will begin their leafing out process.  March 21st will mark the first day of spring, but before we all get in a hurry, lets know a few mistakes that people normally make during this month and hopefully avoid further problems during the summer.  For those people who are anxious for their turf to turn green, many make the mistake of fertilizing during this month, and for 99 percent of the people in eastern North Carolina they have one of the following warm seasoned turf grass species: centipede, bermuda, zoysia, or St. Augustine turf grass species.  These turf grasses cannot handle fertilizer during this time.  Early fertilization will cause green up issues, fungal problems, and can even lead to turf decline.  To properly fertilize your turf, you need to know what species you have, and what your soil analysis is.  If you have not already, get a soil sample analyzed.  You can obtain the soil sample kits free of charge at our office and we will be happy to help you with your analysis readings.    Another common misconception is that we need to prune those crape myrtle trees before they leaf out.  True, you need to prune any broken, rubbing, crossing or unwanted low hanging branches before they leaf out, as it allows the tree to support the healthy and desirable branches of the tree and not the unwanted ones, but FALSE that the entire tree canopy needs to be cut back to the main trunks.  The myth that this encourages more flower production is just that, a myth.  Crape myrtle trees are cultivated and classified not just on their flower color and production, but also for their branching habit.  Branching growth habits will have some of the following growth habits : upright vase, low branched vase, umbrella canopy, semi-dwarf, and dwarf growth habits.  When extreme pruning is done this will distort the trees natural growth habit.  For people who inherited poorly planted crape myrtles that are near a homesite or in a poor location for the tree, the other option is to transplant them.  March is still a good time to safely move most crape myrtles, many people should consider this option since will lessen their maintenance and add to the beauty of their property.  These are two major problems that people bring on themselves due to lack of knowledge about their plant life, and the ignorance of other "professionals".  A few good things to do this month are :  wrap up any pre-emergent herbicides that need to be applied, begin scouting for insects as many will be coming out of their dormancy, and make preparations for any landscape installation projects that you may want to do once spring arrives.  If there is anything that we can help you with in these areas always feel free to contact us at our office at (252) 830-1067, or email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Contact Stephen Jones Enterprises : 4014 Avon Rd, Grimesland, NC 27837
Tel: 252.830.1067      Email: