LSU AgCenter soil testing kits sit on display at the Botanic Gardens at Burden on March 28, 2016.

Small Garden chores Can Make A Big Impact | by Mariah Simoneaux

Start 2022 of right. Pick a day to take care of these minor garden chores – you and your plants will be happy you did!

  1. Fertilize your citrus trees. The months of January and February are prime time when it comes to citrus tree care. Fertilize your trees now to encourage fruit production and healthy growth. Trees can be fertilized using a complete fertilizer such as 8-8-8 or 13-13-13. A good rule of thumb is to apply 1 pound of 13-13-13 (or 1.5 pounds of 8-8-8) per year of tree age up to 12 years. Trees older than 12 should receive the same amount of fertilizer as a 12-year-old tree. Broadcast granular fertilizers under the tree’s dripline. Be sure to remove any remaining fruit from the tree by the beginning of February.
  • Prune knock out and drift roses. Both Knock Out and Drift roses fall into the repeat-flowering rose category. These rose types do well with little maintenance but benefit greatly from two major prunings each year. The first of the major prunings should be completed in late January to mid-February. This can be the most drastic of the prunings, up to two-thirds of the bush may be removed if needed. The second of the major prunings should be completed late August into early September. This fall pruning should be less severe, and generally bushes are only cut back about one-third of their original height.
  • Add woody shrubs and trees to your landscape. January and February are an ideal time to add woody shrubs and trees to your landscape. Planting now gives the root system time to establish before the stressful heat of summer arrives. Select the right plant for the right place and always double check the mature height and spread. A few trees to consider include fringe (small), silver bell (small), crape myrtle (small), holly (small to medium), sweetbay magnolia (medium), red maple (medium), red oak (large) and live oak (large).
  • Begin thinking about spring lawn care. Patience is key when it comes to your lawn. Fertilizing too soon can do more harm than good. You’ll want to wait until you’ve mowed your grass (not just the weeds) at least twice before applying any kind of fertilizer to your lawn. In South Louisiana this is typically about mid-April. This includes weed and feed applications that contain a fertilizer and a pre-emerge herbicide. If you have never taken a soil sample now is a good time to get that done. Soil sample kits can be picked up from several locations throughout Ascension Parish – Louisiana Nursery, Sac’s Western Store, and our LSU AgCenter Office at Lamar Dixon.

Mariah Simoneaux is the Horticulture Agent serving Ascension and Assumption Parishes.  For more information visit or contact Mariah at