Put Some Prep in Your Step for Spring!
The lonnng, c-c-c-cold grey winter gets two frozen blue thumbs down from us. The third coldest Feb on record. A dozen snow events in 8 weeks. A dozen!
BOOOOOOOO Old man winter! BOOOOOOOO! I hope the spring door knocks you down the steps like Madonna at the Brit Awards (that young lass is athletic – 56 is the new 36!).
Thankfully, the practically balmy 40ish degree weather is telling us that spring is waving howdy from the horizon.
Crocus will soon poke their cute little heads up out of the snow. Daffodils will stretch and smile. Mama Spring is telling you the same thing you wanna tell your kids and dog, “Go outside and play!” But Mama Spring is also saying, “Get to work.”
Step It Up – Spring’s almost over
We’ll lose a week or two of early spring prep time so your thawing green thumbs may be intimidated by all of your outdoor chores. But start with one, get it done, have some fun, and enjoy the sun (sounds like a country song, d’dn’t it).
Here are just three easy and effective steps to get your property prepped (future blog will hit the next three):
1. Prune soon
Winter is the best time to prune most trees, especially your beautiful ornamentals like magnolia, dogwood, and other flowering/fruit trees. Put this on top of your list because you want all of Mama Spring’s energy pouring into the best branches and buds. Try to get to this before night time temps regularly exceed 40 degrees.
If you can’t do the pruning: call your friendly knowledgeable landscaper. Pruning is art as much as science. Have them explain how they will prune: will they use a chainsaw or gas pruner on your ornamental tree? Barbers! Call someone else. Most ornamental pruning should be done with hand clippers and a hand saw. You wouldn’t let your hairstylist attack your beautiful hair-do with electric clippers, would you? Same goes for good pruning. (see winter pruning)
2. Gardens – Lose the Leaves to Close the Bug’s Buffet
As soon as you can, get into your gardens and clip any dead, brown leaves from your shrubs. Remove fallen leaves from around the trunks.
Plant damaging insects and fungi (what’s fun about fungi? Nada!) love to hide and hibernate in the leaves. Removing the leaves and their denizens can help prevent damage before those critters get busy making babies. And baby bugs are hawngry bugs. Close the bug’s buffet before it opens. Removing the leaves and using natural deterrents are very effective ways to control pests. (blog on Natural Pest Control is coming soon)
3. Lawns – Snow Problem
What if melting snow reveals bald spots worse than your Uncle Buford’s bad comb over? It can certainly happen after a winter like ours. Pink and gray snow mold, (no)fungi, and other diseases spring to life as soon as it warms.
Take care of this early.
Most of these early season problems can be diagnosed and treated before the grass starts growing. I’ll post links here at a later time to help you self-diagnose and treat various problems. For now, plan to rake out the dead asap. Put down quality seed (we love http://www.jonathangreen.com/). Cover it with a light topping of quality shredded hay, especially salt marsh hay, which carries little to no weeds seeds.
Take care of the three above by early April and you’ll be in good shape for mid-spring (coming soon).