Spring Fever Has Sprung

Spring fever is all around us and seems to grow by the day as the temperatures warm and the days get longer.  We still have a short ways to go to reach our last average frost date of April 7.  Most of the state has gone over 3 weeks without a killing freeze and none is currently on the forecast as this column is written. It would be safest to wait a couple of weeks to plant tender warm season vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and eggplants or color plants like petunias, geraniums, marigolds, begonias and most other annuals. 

It is getting late to apply pre-emergent weed killers or weed and feed products so if you haven’t already applied those, please do so at once.  We are also late for planting onion plants, seed potatoes, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and other cool season vegetables, If you are determined to grow a spring crop of any of those cool season vegetables that must be planted at once if you want to get a harvest before the heat of summer wears them out.

 This is a good time to sow seeds of tall turf fescue or other lawn grass seeds in shady areas.  Visit your local garden center to select Crossfire III or another fescue variety well suited to your yard and soil type.  Make sure not to sow new lawn grass seed to an area where you have applied pre-emergent weed killers in the last 2 months.  That pre-emergent may also kill your grass seed and prevent its germination.

 This is a fun time of year in the yard and as I drive around Oklahoma to enjoy all the beautiful flowering shrubs and trees decked out in their best flowers.  The flowering shrubs started with bright yellow forsythia, then orange and red quince, and now the sweet smell and color of lilacs.  The flowering trees started with Bradford ornamental pears, moved on to peaches and apricots.  Now the redbud and crabapples are in full color and are truly spectacular.  At this time of year it is easy to see why our forefathers made the redbud our state tree.  After a long cold winter these native trees in our landscape announce spring with brilliant displays of pink, lavender or reddish flowers cloaking the stems before they ever put on a leaf.  Redbuds are the Oklahoma version of what cherry trees are to Washington, D.C.. Ours are just spread out more instead of concentrated  in one spot like those in D.C..  It is getting late to plant bareroot trees, shrubs or berries but it is one of the best times to plant container grown or balled and burlapped trees. This is a great time to visit your local nursery or garden center and to select the flowering shrubs and trees, fruit trees or ornamental trees and shrubs to add to your landscape.

 We have been blessed with some nice spring rains and mild temperatures that make it a great time to get out in the yard and garden.  I hope you will make time to enjoy the greatest show on earth as Mother Nature gradually brings the plant world back to life, one plant at a time, for another great growing season.

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