Monthly Horticulture Tips Zone

Notes from Clemson extension, Nurseries Caroliniana & Augusta Rose Society

January: A great time to prune trees and shrubs while they are still dormant. However, do not prune azalea, dogwood, forsythia, redbud, and rhododendron – they should be pruned after they bloom since they set blooms in the fall. Almost anything that blooms after June 1 (except oakleaf hydrangea and late-flowering azalea cultivars) can be pruned safely now. 

February: Now is the time to put down your preemergent for summer weeds.  It is also a good time to severely prune the dead or diseased wood off of your roses (except for the roses that only bloom in the spring.)

March: Wait, don’t fertilize yet! Spring lawns should not be fertilized until the grass turns green, showing that it is growing and ready for fertilizer. Adding fertilizer too early can pollute streams. For more springtime tips, go to

April:  Planning a vegetable garden? April 15th  is the time to plant tomatoes, peppers, beans & squash for Summer. Now is a good time to fertilize lawns. You should not fertilize lawns in fall.

May: Walk around your garden and look for signs of disease or pests. Use lower toxicity pesticides such as horticultural oils, insecticidal soaps, and biological controls. These effective, safe materials can control most plant pests. When using chemicals, read the label and use the least amount suggested.

June: check your tomatoes for blossom end rot on the fruit as it begins to form. This is an indication of a calcium deficiency. Place a handful of gypsum (land plaster) in the soil beside the tomato at planting (or later) to prevent this. Foliar sprays such as blossom end rot spray will also help alleviate the problem. Nothing will “heal” the fruit with rot on it, so remove and discard them

July: Fall tomato gardens can be planted mid July. If you have not yet broadcast fire ant baits apply your first treatment any time this month. Be sure to apply fresh bait, and do it at the correct time of day (fire ants only forage actively when the ground temperature is between 70 and 95 degrees. Your irrigation should be in full swing by now.

August: Now is another good time to prune most trees and shrubs. July and August are the months to prune azalea, dogwood, forsythia, redbud, and rhododendron. They should be pruned after they bloom, but before bloom set in the fall. Oakleaf hydrangea and late-flowering azalea cultivars might also be considered now. Avoid any pruning in the spring and fall if at all possible.

September Late September is a good time to put down pre-emergent for winter weeds (unless you are applying an annual rye grass) Your local nursery can help you with what type you need for the type of grass or shrubs you have.  For example, Atrozine is very effective in most lawns. Amaze is great for flower beds.

October: – it’s time to plant those spring-flowering bulbs you purchased in September, such as daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, and crocus.  Soil Test – now is the time to test the soil in your planned beds for plant nutrients. Soil tests usually take 10 days, so test now to have the results when you plant bulbs and beds. It is important to till in the lime needed (if any) for faster soil pH adjustment.

November: Leaves are continuing to fall. If you have space and a little time composting is a great option; if not, you can also till them into any fallow beds you have or the vegetable garden. Now is a good time to consider winterizing your irrigation.

December:  The winter months when trees are dormant are excellent times to plant. Be careful that you do not plant them too deep or with too much soil amendment. You can still plant spring bulbs.

Garden Club of Aiken’s Favorite Links

Garden Club links:

Garden Club of America

National Garden Club

South Carolina


Cold Creek Nursery, Aiken SC

Nurseries Caroliniana, North Augusta, SC

Bedford Greenhouses, Augusta, GA

Trusty Farm, Jackson, SC

Jenks Farmer

Appletree Nursery Columbia, SC


Wingard’s , Lexington – 1403 N Lake Dr

Woodleys, Irmo – 2840 Dreher Shoals Rd Woodley’s Garden Center | Landscape Design | Gardening | Columbia, SC (

Coopers, Columbia – 8244 Parklane Rd.  One block left off I-277) ( good selection of trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals.)  Cooper’s Nursery (

Reese’s, Blythwood   Exit 24. Off I-77 north. Turn R, 1/2 Mile on the right.  (Not far from Coopers) Plant Nursery & Garden Center | Blythewood, SC | Reese’s Plants (

Mill Creek, East side of Columbia 2324 Leesburg Rd. (I always find plants here that I don’t see at the other nurseries.) Millcreek Greenhouses in Columbia, SC (

Other links:

Clemson Cooperative Extension

Silver Bluff Audubon

Hitchcock Woods Foundation

Aiken County Historical Museum

Hopeland Gardens

Aiken Land Conservancy