SPRING HAS ARRIVED! EARLY FLOWERING BULBS ARE PRODUCING THEIR SHOW OF COLOR!

Spring officially arrived on the calendar last weekend but we are still at risk of some more frosts and freezing in the real world of Oklahoma.  In recent years we had one year without a freeze in Oklahoma City after February 28 and the very next year we had a freeze on May 3rd.  Our last average freeze day across Oklahoma averages from April 7th to April 15th.  We usually say that it is safe to plant warm season crops after tax day or April 15.  A good rule of thumb is to get your taxes filed and paid and then start your spring and summer gardening for relief and relaxation, unless you file for an extension, then you need to go ahead and start gardening.   

You can safely plant perennials, container grown shrubs and trees right now.  The sooner you plant your perennials, shrubs and trees the better they can get established before the heat of summer.  Few things will do more to change the look of your home or business over time than the impact of well placed trees and shrubs.  All plants take in carbon dioxide and give off the clean oxygen we humans need but trees also provide significant shade, will help cool your yard and even your home, all while looking beautiful and adding value to your property.  There are hundreds of species of trees readily available at local nurseries so you can select small ornamental trees or large impactful shade trees.  You can select flowering trees like the crabapples, red buds or magnolia soulangeana, all in spectacular flower the last two weeks.  Fruit trees that will give you fresh apples, pears, cherries, plums or peaches; nut trees to provide years of pecans or walnuts.  Shrubs also offer a broad palette of choices from the flowering yellow forsythia, to the bright red and orange quince, the dainty and elegant white spirea, all blooming now, to broadleaf or needle evergreens to use as hedges, screens, or to add height and interest around your home and yard. 

If you have shady areas that need new grass the next six weeks is prime time to sow seed of tall fescue type turf grasses.  Since we have warmed up so much, many of the summer weeds have already started germinating so you will miss out on the full effect of pre-emergent or weed and feed products applied at this late date and you may need to apply post-emergent weed killers if you feel the need to reduce your weed population in your lawn.  Consult your local nurseryman for help in selecting the right one for your type of turf. 

This is a wonderful time of year as the world of nature starts to come back to life in our yards, parks and across the country side.  I love all the early flowering bulbs as they produce their show of color and welcome a new spring season starting with the cute crocus, the lovely hyacinths, bold daffodils and tulips all bursting forth from those bulbs we planted last fall or in some preceding year.  The spring symphony then expands with the beautiful displays from our flowering shrubs and the flowering trees including our state tree, the Red Bud.  Soon the full orchestra of nature will be playing with the seasonal color plants we are planting this spring.

If you have spring fever and just can’t wait to plant your tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant until mid April when our night temperatures should be safe or you just want tomatoes before your neighbors, be prepared to protect your early warm season plantings with fabric blankets, boxes or commercial season extension products like Hot Kaps, Wall-O-Water, or row cover fabrics. 

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