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The fragrance of a freshly mown lawn, flower petals falling from trees on a delicate breeze, newly hatched birds clamoring for a meal… these are the most welcome scents, sights and sounds of springtime. Alas, there is always a natural balance in life and with the benefits come the drawbacks as well. Cutting the lawn that grows too fast, clean those messy flowers off the drive (again) and if those ?*$%#@?!! birds wake me up again I’ll… Well, perhaps I need to relax but never the less there is a good bit of work that goes into a nice looking lawn and garden and the proper information can be key in getting the job done right the first time. Following are a few common mistakes to avoid and true facts to help keep your garden looking its best this season:
Misconception: My regular 4-step lawn care program will kill all the weeds in my lawn. True fact: There are many difficult to control weeds that a granular application will not control. Clover is a common problem; ground ivy has scalloped leaves and creeps everywhere. Veronica is a low creeper with blue flowers in spring that jumps into flower gardens. These, and several other, difficult lawn weeds require an application of a liquid lawn weed control that is available in ready to use or concentrated formulations. The longer these weeds have been present in your lawn the longer it will take to eliminate them. Spring sprays may need to be repeated again in early summer and fall to get strong weed populations under control.
Fallacy: I can purchase my hanging baskets, vegetable and flowering plants from the garden center and go home and plant them (or hang baskets) immediately. True fact: Plants grown under protected conditions will not be acclimated to wind, rain or cool night temperatures. Moving plants from a warm and cozy greenhouse right outdoors is just like jumping into a cold swimming pool on a hot day. Plants will benefit greatly from a “hardening-off” process that will slowly adapt them to their new environments. Place plants out of direct sun and wind for a few days to a week before installing plants or hanging baskets. The garage is not the proper place to harden your new plants… they need exposure to outdoor conditions on a limited and controlled basis. Pay attention to low night temperatures that can harm tender plants even in a protected area. Move plants indoors if the forecast is for 40 degrees or lower returning them to the outdoors in the morning.
Gardening rubbish: It is not important to purchase locally grown trees, shrubs and flowering plants. True fact: Locally grown plants not only are better suited to our environment their purchases also contribute more significantly to our local economy putting your dollars to work in your community. There are some plants that are not economical to grow in Northeastern Ohio but they are the exceptions rather than the rule. While plant shopping look for grower information on labels and/or ask where plants have been grown. Then make the decision to choose locally grown items knowing your purchase will grow in more ways than one.
Now go outside and have fun in the dirt!