Tackle timely projects as we head towards spring

Our State was blessed with a really nice soaking rain this last weekend that should help most all plant material from the farmer’s winter wheat to the dormant trees and shrubs in your yard.  Many areas were dangerously dry before this cold but thirst quenching rain.  Our days are getting noticeably longer and you can feel the warmth of the sun getting more intense on those cherished sunny days.  The sunny days, that feel like spring, actually get us excited about the chance to get outside and have fun and help make pretty things happen in our yard and garden.

There are many timely projects to tackle in your yard and garden during this lead up to spring.  For your lawn this is the best time of year to apply a good pre-emergent herbicide or “weed and feed “  type product to control your crabgrass and broadleaf weeds before they germinate.  Use a good product containing Barricade or Dimension and think of it as birth control for your crabgrass and weeds.  Barricade is my favorite, but it must be applied and watered in before the crabgrass or weeds  germinate or  sprout.  Dimension is the rare pre-emergent that also works as a post emergent on young crabgrass and so it is a good choice if you haven’t gotten a pre-emergent applied before you start to see crabgrass sprouting in a few weeks.  There are also five or six other good pre-emergents based on older technology that must be applied before the crabgrass or weed seeds germinate.  Some work better on broadleaf weeds and some on crabgrass so visit with your local nurseryman to pick the right product for your yard and the grass or weed challenges your lawn is facing.

This is the time to finish pruning on your shade trees, hedges, and summer flowering shrubs.  With all the ice storm damage to our trees this year there is a much greater sense of urgency to prune up the damaged branches and to prune our trees  for shape and balance to deal with how the ice has wounded our trees.  This is also the most important time of the year to feed our trees and shrubs with a good, well  balanced, fertilizer.  The roots are already growing and this feeding will help nourish the roots and maximize the natural spring burst of growth when our trees and shrubs leaf out for spring.  A good spring feeding for our trees and shrubs is more important than ever this spring as they try to respond and recover from their ice wounds.

Vegetable gardeners are in full gear starting their tomato, pepper and eggplant seeds inside so they will have transplants ready to plant outside in April.  You can plant many cool season crops outside right now including potatoes, onion sets, and plants of onions, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, head lettuce, and brussel sprouts. You may plant seeds of carrots, beets, radishes, peas, spinach, mustard, turnips, swiss chard and kohlrabi now.  We still have a risk of freezing for another seven to eight weeks but these cool season crops can handle some freezing and actually like the cool weather and will produce until our hot summer weather wears them down. 

This is also a good time to plant strawberries, rhubarb, asparagus, blackberries and most of the other berry crops.  Watch for the pretty spring days and make some time to get outside and commune with nature in your yard as you have fun gardening.

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