Ask Burton: This week, a heads-up on important tasks to finish in the landscape.

Pre-emergent herbicides – Starting in February, it’s time to apply pre-emergent herbicides to stop most of the weeds before they sprout. Apply Dimension herbicide at 35# per 7,500 sq. ft. to prevent dallisgrass, crabgrass, and other weed grasses in the lawn, and Gallery at the rate of a 10# bag per 2,000 sq. ft. to prevent dandelions, henbit, clover, and other broadleafed weeds. Back up your Dimension application at a lighter rate in early May to ensure you stop the entire season’s worth of grassy weeds.

Pruning tasks – It’s a good time to prune trees, shrubs, and burned or spent-looking perennials to clean up your beds. Roses can be pruned anytime between now and Valentine’s Day. Finish pruning oaks before Valentine’s Day to prevent the potential spread of oak wilt, and cover cuts on oaks with pruning paint. (Oaks are the only reason you’ll usually need pruning paint.)

Maintenance – Sharpen your mower blade, repair tools that aren’t working quite right, clean and sharpen your pruners and other tools, and give everything a good dab of oil where it will do the most good. You’ll thank yourself later; starting a new year’s gardening with tools covered in last year’s crusty dirt makes the work harder than it needs to be.

Burton specializes in diagnosing and solving plant problems. If you have a question for Burton, please email him at and include photos showing the problem.