Yard, garden have bucketful of chores

Tornadoes and “spring forward” time changes have already visited Oklahoma, further confirming that spring really is at hand. It is still early to plant warm season annuals as our last average frost date around the central part of Oklahoma occurs between April 5th and 15th so it is best to wait to plant tomatoes, peppers, petunias, impatiens and begonias until mid April unless you are prepared to give lots of extra protection with Hot Kaps, Wall-O-Water or fabric row covers.

There are a bucket load of things to do now in the Oklahoma garden. Apply dormant oil spray to your fruit and ornamental trees to kill overwintering mites, galls, aphids, scale and other insect pests. Prune your rose bushes now, before they produce their spring shoots and leaves. You can also prune summer flowering shrubs, remove dead wood and shape trees and evergreen shrubs. Cut back dead or old foliage on ornamental grasses and lirope. If you plan to add fescue, rye or other cool season grasses this is a good season to sow those seeds, especially in shady lawn areas. Remove all dead plant matter from last season’s garden and cultivate your flower beds to remove winter weeds as you prepare for spring planting.

We are nearing the end of the pre-emergent weed killing season so apply your weed and feed type granular products or spray your lawn very soon with a pre-emergent herbicide to kill crabgrass and summer weeds before they germinate. You can apply post emergent weed killers to your lawn to kill the winter weeds that are green now. Most Oklahomans have Bermuda grass lawns so you can even use glyphosate (Round-up) over the dormant lawn to kill all the green weeds without damage to your brown lawn if you apply soon before the Bermuda greens up. There are some great new products available to homeowners that include both glyphosate post-emergent to kill live or green plant material and prodiamine (Barricade) pre-emergent to kill the summer weeds not yet germinated in one spray like that applied by commercial lawn services. 

The “food gardeners” are already in high gear as we wrap up the traditional planting season on Saint Patrick’s Day for seed potatoes, onion sets, onion plants, cabbage, cauliflower and lettuce plants. You need to plant seed for your cool season vegetables including carrots, kohlrabi, lettuce, peas, spinach and turnips. Get them planted at once, to get a good harvest before our hot summer weather. You can also plant broccoli plants and seeds for beets, radish and swiss chard all month.

You need to be wrapping up planting of asparagus, rhubarb and strawberry crowns. This is also a great time to plant grapes, blackberries, raspberries as well as fruit and ornamental trees and shrubs.

Decide what food you want to grow, what trees you want to plant and what flowers you envision in your yard and get out there and have fun in the garden.


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