Friday, February 27, 2009
When spring arrives, both gardeners and their plants are eager to spring into action. But avoid doing everything at once in your enthusiasm. It's better for you, and your garden, when you prioritize. Follow nature's own course of gradual preparation, and this year's garden will unfold before you—lush and beautiful.
Spread compost around the garden, whether your own or store-bought. As it breaks down, it adds welcome warmth to the soil and moderates the effects of springtime's temperature swings.
Once your shrubs have leafed out and the buds are swelling, fertilize. If it doesn't rain, water the plants before and after applying.
Control scale and other pests on your fruit trees by spraying with dormant oil (it is effective when temperatures are over 45 degrees).
Rake the lawn to remove old leaves and weeds, debris and trash. This helps the grass stand up after months of being matted down, letting in beneficial light and air.
After they bloom, leave your daffodils and tulips alone so their leaves die back naturally. They are busy sending starch reserves down into the bulbs to fuel next year's show.
Add a couple inches of mulch around your perennials. This retains soil moisture and keeps weeds at bay.
Install sturdy stakes adjacent to tall plants while they're smaller and accessible. You're less likely to harm root systems, plus you'll be able to train the plants to grow upright.
Buy flats of frost-tolerant bedding plants to inject welcome color into your early-season displays. Select ones that don't have open blooms yet, so they'll burst open in your garden.
Prune and shape spring-flowering shrubs after their show is over. If you wait too long, you may chop off next year's buds.
Plant a bare-root tree or shrub. Prepare an ample home; dig the planting hole three to five times wider than and the same depth as the root-ball and water well. The plant will emerge from dormancy as soil and weather warm up.
Don't forget to do your gardeners warm up exercises before your day in the garden.
Have a wonderful spring season. Sandy