Spring snow clear reminder that freeze remains possible

Hope your yard survived the “Welcome to Spring” snowstorm and cold front without too much damage. Some yards had virtually no damage while others saw the flowers frozen on their forsythia, quince, Bradford pears, apricots and peach trees. It was often a matter of just a couple of degrees of whether you got damage or not. We may have lost some of the impact of our early spring flowers and the fruit crop on the early blooming fruit trees, but I think we escaped major freeze damage to our trees and shrubs.

We are still at risk of frosts and freezes until about mid-April, so I would encourage you to resist the national ads to plant tender annuals now and show some patience for another couple of weeks on planting most tender annuals. Wait until about the first of May on real heat loving plants like periwinkle, caladiums, copper leaf and other tropicals to allow our nighttime lows to rise a little higher. If you do decide to plant early on tomatoes, pepper, begonias, impatiens, etc. be prepared to cover them on cold nights with Wall O’ Water cones, Hot Kaps, row covers, empty milk jugs or a sheet or blanket for a little extra protection.

This is still a good planting season for beets, broccoli and radishes as we get ready for full scale planting of warm season vegetables and colorful annuals in a couple of weeks.

This is a great time to plant trees and shrubs and allows them to benefit from spring rains and to get rooted in before the hot, dry Oklahoma summer. Trees and shrubs not only add to the beauty of your property, add shade, provide windbreaks and visual fencing or screening but when well placed can reduce your home energy bills. They are still the most effective air filters removing pollutants and carbon dioxide from the air and producing large quantities of fresh clean oxygen for your world.

Depending on your strength, most individuals can handle and plant trees grown in up to 15 gallon cans or 2” caliper on your own. Because of time demands you may want your nurseryman to plant even smaller trees and shrubs but most people probably want to get professional help transplanting trees larger than 2” caliper.  Always dig a hole 1 ½ to 2 times as large as needed. If you have clay or sandy soil then mix sphagnum peat or compost with your soil as you plant your new trees and shrubs to the same depth at which they have been grown.

Each week we should enjoy more pretty days than the week before so I hope you are able to get outside on those pretty days to enjoy your spring flowering bulbs, beautiful spring flowering shrubs and trees. Plant trees, shrubs, perennials and cool season plants now and get ready for the “Plant Away” sign in a couple of weeks.


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