Dear Master Gardener: I really need to replace some shrubbery and trees in my yard. Should I wait for spring to do my planting?

Dear Observant: My one-word answer to your question is NO. Now IS the perfect time to plant shrubbery and trees. If you plant now, they will have the opportunity to get rain and enjoy cooler weather so their roots can become established before the heat of the summer.

If you plant in the spring, you run the risk of the hot summer destroying your plants. What if you decide to take a vacation and you don’t have expensive irrigation or a friend that owes you a big favor? How will you keep them watered?

If you feel that the trees will blow too much in the winter winds, stake them well after planting. I have ordered quite a few sawtooth oaks from the forestry department, and they won’t even arrive until December.

Be sure to take a soil sample before planting, and dig your hole not only deep enough, but wide enough. Gardeners -- and that includes master gardeners -- often make the mistake of watering directly on the plant. Unfortunately, I am guilty of that mistake. You want the roots to reach out toward the water rather than growing around in a circle. Have you ever dug a plant up because it wasn’t doing well to find that the roots are growing around and around rather than out? I have.

Dear Master Gardener: I have many daylilies, and I love them. What should I do with them this time of the year?

Dear Salome (that’s my favorite daylily): A very good friend of mine who is a master gardener and excellent gardener, Sara Stone, told me that it is time to fertilize your daylilies with a light sprinkling of 10-10-10. If they need separating, now is also the time to separate them.

I have some daylilies that I consider family heirlooms so I keep them in pots year-round. You need to water them on a regular basis because, naturally, they dry out faster in a pot than in the ground.

Sara and her husband used to grow daylilies to show in the various competitions. When you read about a daylily show, you should try to attend because you will see many outstanding varieties and you will be able to purchase plants for much less than you can order them from a catalog.

Speaking of friends, (and I like to talk to anyone at any time who will educate me about plants), Mr. Noles from Blackville, who has Noles Nursery, is a fountain of information. Recently, he was telling me about the benefits of using lemon-scented detergent on my plants to keep the insects away.

I purchased some ligustrums from him and I was bemoaning the fact they attract whiteflies. He suggested spraying them with the detergent. Now I wish he would teach me how to propagate plants because he is a real master at it. Most people you purchase plants from have a world of knowledge so take time to have a conversation with them.

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