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Spring is Here! Finally!

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Spring awakens the hearts of gardeners.  I know I am anxious to get my hands dirty planting and nurturing my garden.  We just may have to wait a little while longer this year. 

 

Tool Care

Get your tools into good condition for the season.  Sharpen the edges of your shovel and pruners with a file or take them to a sharpener.  They will be so much easier to use with sharp edges.

Lawn Care

Wait to walk on your lawn until the soil is no longer frozen or very wet to avoid damaging the grass or compacting the soil

Rake out any dead grass and clean up the lawn before the grass really starts to grow.  When you cut the grass for the first time, cut it shorter than usual. Reseeding may be needed.  Sow new grass seed in April.

Pre-emergent weed killer (crabgrass control) is best applied around May 1st or when the lilacs bloom.  Do not use crabgrass control on areas that have been newly seeded as the seed will not germinate.

Wait a month or so until your grass is actively growing before feeding it.

Winter Burn

Do not prune winter burn on your evergreens.  Simply wait and assess the problem once we start to see a bit of warm weather and spring growth.

Animal Damage

Don’t be surprised if the rabbits have done some pruning on your roses, perennials and shrubs.  Apply rabbit repellent to the plants the rabbits seem to favor in your yard. Continue to spray new growth.  The bunnies love that fresh, new greens.

Vegetable and Flower Garden

Work the vegetable and flower gardens as soon as the soil dries enough to be crumbly.  Fork or till in compost or manure.

Remove any dead annual plants the remained over winter.  When new growth appears, trim your perennials down to the ground. Trim back the tattered foliage on plants like heuchera and bearded iris, which keep their leaves year round. Grasses can be pruned now to within a 6 inches of the ground.

Check for heaving of small shrubs and perennials.  Step gently around the plant to push it back into the soil.  If it heaves a lot, this plant will likely dry out and die before spring.  If necessary, dig the plant in deeper or raise the soil level around the plant.

Divide and move perennials. Dividing old clumps of perennials that aren’t performing at their peak, will keep them young and vigorous. Most perennials do best when divided every three years or so, but some vigorous growers could use splitting every other year.  Wait to divide many spring-blooming favorites such as bleeding heart after finished blooming.  Divide peonies in September and irises in August.

Fertilization

Fertilize your evergreens now with a balanced food especially for evergreens.

Woody plants can be fertilized before they make new growth.

Give emerging spring bulbs appropriate fertilizer just as they emerge in the spring.  The most important thing to remember is the foliage makes the bulb for next year, so do not cut off the green leaves or stems of these plants until they have turned brown and dry   sometime during the summer. Tulips and daffodils will produce a seed which should be cut off, but keep the leaves and flower stem in place.  All of that green is photosynthesizing and making food for the bulb to store for next year’s flowers.

 

For those plants that like a more acidic soil, such a rhododendron, azalea, and clethra, this is a good time to sprinkle sulfur or fertilizer for acid-loving plants at the base of the plant.  This allows the product to be taken down to the root zone during our spring rains.

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