Time to get ready for spring 2019!

We have had some beautiful winter weather days recently with just a couple of hard cold fronts interrupting the fun.  Working in the yard last weekend I saw my first dandelions in bloom and noticed the daffodils and hyacinths had already popped from the ground.  I could even see the future flower buds tightly wrapped in that first thrust of leaves.  Spring flowers are not far away.  As the days get longer and the Oklahoma earth starts to green up with our cool season crops there are many more things we can do in the yard and garden.

This is the best season of the year to control summer weeds in your lawn by applying pre-emergent herbicides or weed killers from now until the redbud trees bloom later this spring.  Most pre-emergents will work like birth control for weeds for six to twelve weeks after they are applied and watered in.  They work by killing the crabgrass, sandburs or other weeds as they start to emerge or sprout from their seeds over the next six to twelve weeks depending on the herbicide selected.  Visit with your local nursery or garden center to select the right herbicide to use with your turf type and yard conditions.  You can apply herbicides as a granular to spread or as a liquid to spray.  You can apply as a pre-emergent weed killer only or in combination with a fertilizer often referred to as “weed & feed” products.

Vegetable or food gardening is kicking into high gear for many of the cool season crops that can tolerate the freezing we are likely to get for another two months or so.  You can start warm season vegetables or ornamental flowers indoors under lights or in good window light but they should not be planted outdoors until mid April or later.   This is the time to plant onion plants and onion sets, seed potatoes and seeds of cabbage, cauliflower, Swiss chard, kohlrabi, head lettuce, leaf lettuce, green peas or spinach.   You can also plant seeds of root crops like carrots, radish or turnips now.  This is the season to plant perennial food crops like strawberries, rhubarb, asparagus and horseradish as bareroot crowns or plants.   Plant bareroot grapes, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries or boysenberries to start your own berry patch to harvest for years to come.  Bareroot fruit trees can be planted over the next few weeks to start your own orchard.  Many of these crops will be available container grown that you can plant later in the season but you have a brief window over the next few weeks to plant thembareroot. Make sure to water all new plantings thoroughly.

You can prune most trees, shrubs and vines at any time of year but a good time on most crops is right now before the new growth sprouts out.  There are important exceptions.  Do not prune early spring flowering shrubs like forsythia, quince, wisteria or spring flowering trees like crabapple, redbuds and ornamental peaches and pears as this will cut off the flowering wood and cheat you out of their spring flower show.  Wait to prune these early spring flowering trees and shrubs until after they bloom.  This is the time to prune your rose bushes and may of your other summer flowering shrubs or evergreens before the growing season kicks into full gear.

Get your flowerbeds ready, start planting cool season crops, apply your first rounds of fertilizer and weed control

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