Spring Garden Tips

Our Garden Gang's
springshift.gif (387x190 -- 22399 bytes)

hi_flowers.gif (70x69 -- 2706 bytes) Garden lovers!

It's that time again.  Clean up your tools and get out of the house, because you're on the Spring Shift!

Here's Gyrfalcon's top ten spring chores to get you growing NOW!

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pink_flwrbullet.gif (16x15 -- 998 bytes)Get 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.

pink_flwrbullet.gif (16x15 -- 998 bytes) 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.

pink_flwrbullet.gif (16x15 -- 998 bytes) 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.

pink_flwrbullet.gif (16x15 -- 998 bytes) 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 replacement?

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.

pink_flwrbullet.gif (16x15 -- 998 bytes) Sharpen your pruning tools!  Head on over to Pruning Primer!  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.

pink_flwrbullet.gif (16x15 -- 998 bytes) 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.

pink_flwrbullet.gif (16x15 -- 998 bytes) 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.

pink_flwrbullet.gif (16x15 -- 998 bytes) 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. 

pink_flwrbullet.gif (16x15 -- 998 bytes) 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. 

pink_flwrbullet.gif (16x15 -- 998 bytes) 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.

Happy Gardening!

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