Forsythia and daffodils trumpet in spring

Spring forward applies not just to our wall clocks and alarm clocks but also to most of the plant world. The early crops that tolerate or enjoy a little cooler weather are already “coming alive” for spring. The two crops that “trumpet” the arrival of spring for me are the beautiful yellow flowering shrub forsythia and the spring flowering bulbs of daffodil or narcissus. They kick off the annual symphony of life and colors that then marches through an annual chorus of crops that come alive as the temperatures warm, the sunlight grows more intense and the day length grows longer. Flowering shrubs quickly progress from forsythia, quince, wisteria, lilacs to roses and so many others. Flowering bulbs start with the trumpet flowers of daffodils and quickly progress to crocus, tulips, hyacinths and many other bulb crops you should have planted last fall to enjoy now. The trees start to flower with apricots, peaches, ornamental pears and soon are yielding to redbuds, apples and many other trees strutting their colors. Please make time to enjoy this annual symphony of color and nature in your yard, your neighborhood and across our state. This is a great way to see and smell things you enjoy, find them at a local nursery and then add them to your landscape.

Another way we know spring is at hand is that we suddenly have so many things to do in the yard and many that need to be done now! There has never been a better time to learn and experience the joy of growing your own vegetables, berries and fruit with the rising prices of produce and the interest in locally grown food. You can’t get any more local than your own yard. We are nearing the end of the planting season for cool season vegetables. The best time to plant seed potatoes, onion sets and onion plants, lettuce, radishes, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and thet like is now by St. Patrick’s Day. You can plant later but your yields will drop as the crops mature later into the heat of summer. It is still early to plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and other warm season crops. Our last average freeze in OKC is around April 7th and we usually say it is wise to plant them April 15th or after. If you must plant early be prepared to protect these warm crops with hot kaps, wall – o – waters or row cover fabric.

If you want to control weeds and crabgrass in your lawn, now is the time to apply pre-emergent herbicide over your lawn either by itself or as part of a weed and feed product to fertilize while controlling the weeds. Pre-emergents will only work if applied before the summer weed seeds germinate. A good rule of thumb is to apply the pre-emergents before the redbud flowers are finished but the sooner the better after the forsythia’s bloom. Visit your nurseryman to select the right pre-emergent for your lawn. My favorites include products containing Dimension or Barricade (prodiamine). Make sure to water in with at least a ½” of water after application to activate these treatments.

Please join me this Sunday March 20th, at 1:00 P.M. at the OKC Zoo Education Building for a free program by famous plant explorer, Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery in North Carolina. This great speaker will really get you excited about the upcoming season and encourage you to try out some new plants. He is sponsored by the Oklahoma Horticulture Society with support from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by david meehan on May 25, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    we have a long row of forsythia my son wants to make him alot of cuttings and sell them. as I was looking at the bushes I noticed on some of them have alittle pod I opened one and it has little seeds in it. he wants to know if they will grow plants, if so do we leave the pods on tree till they dry or pull and let dry. He is only 10 but loves growing plants and trees.


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