out the fertilizer and compost! When plants begin their spring
growth, a fertilizer boost and compost or manure top-dressing is very
beneficial. Even if you rarely feed your plants, this is the
don't-miss-this-one fertilizing time.
Weed control! Take
care of them now, before they put down deep tap roots or go to
seed. The softer young foliage also makes it easier to hoe them
under. Mulches can help keep weeds under control.
Pre-emergence herbicides are very useful to prevent new weed seeds from
sprouting, and they will not harm your established plants.
Pre-emergence only affects seed germination; don't apply it to where you
have planted your flower seeds or desirable volunteers are anticipated.
Love that lawn!
Remember to give your turf areas the same attention. Reseed if it
is thinning; thick growth will help keep weeds from getting a
foothold. Fertilize to get the lawn off to a good start. If
you are not reseeding, you may want to apply a pre-emergent and lawn
fertilizer all-in-one product. A strong lawn now will help prevent
it from becoming a weed-patch come summer.
The waterworks! Give
that irrigation system a good inspection. Don't wait for the first
heat wave to show you the system's problems! Replace any broken
heads and repair or replace any cracked pipes or hoses. Replace any
exposed PVC (plastic) pipe or risers that have become brittle due to sun
exposure. Have any drip irrigation emitters become disconnected
from the tubing? Are any of the valves leaking and in need of
Turn on each
irrigation system and observe the coverage from each sprinkler
head. Check for any nozzles that require cleaning. Have
any sprinklers been turned and are not covering the areas that they
should? Are your new beds receiving the proper irrigation
coverage? Look for plants that have grown larger and obstruct
the water coverage from other plants. Do you need to prune
them, raise the height of the sprinklers, change the type of nozzle,
or relocate or add sprinkler heads? If you plan to add heads,
be sure the system will be able to support the additional gpm
(gallons per minute) output!
Remember to re-program the irrigation
clock to meet the current weather and plant growing
conditions! If the clock has a back-up battery for power
interruptions, it may be a good time to put in a fresh battery.
Sharpen your pruning
tools! Head on over to Pruning
It's time to clear out any dead wood or cross-over branches for most
plant species. Check the ties and supports to make sure they won't
girdle your plants.
Pest and disease
control! It is spring feast time to those aphids. Try to
anticipate the problems you will encounter in your garden, and decide
your course of action. Purchase your basic control products, so they
will be handy when you need them. Prevention is the first line of
defence against plant diseases. Catch and treat problems early for
more effective control.
Patio plant check! Now
is the best time to repot any container plants that have been around for
a while. If you don't want to step the plant up to a larger
container, knock the plant(s) out of the pot, loosen and trim some of
the root growth, and then replant into the same container with fresh
potting mix. If the pot and plant are too large or heavy to make
repotting possible, remove as much of the surface soil as you can while
minimizing damage to the roots. Top dress with fresh potting soil.
Buy summer flowers.
This is the fun spring task. Be sure to choose the flowers
appropriate for summer bloom, and not the winter stock the nurseries are
trying to unload. At this time of year, it is usually better to
choose the slightly undersized stock rather than the plants in full
bloom. The younger color will establish stronger root
systems--providing a healthier, longer lived and better producing plant
in the long run. Spring is a great time to plant perennials,
shrubs and new trees, too.
Plant some seeds and
bulbs! This is a great time to throw out some seeds; they will
repay you later with a big flower show. Many bulbs, such as
gladiolus, can be planted at two-week intervals. When the planting
times are staggered, you will see a succession of flowers rather than
one show. I use this method to contrast different color
combinations throughout the season.
Hang the hammock! Make
some lemonade and try out the hammock. Re-test it frequently
throughout the year to make sure it remains in perfect working order.
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