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Lowe’s Greenhouses, Florist & Gift Shop
February 28, 2009
Prepared and presented by Mr. Ed
Your home landscape is waking from its winter slumber. So, what’s a homeowner to do? When the ground has thawed, the grass isn’t soaking wet and the beds aren’t a mountain of mud, there’s plenty:
· Yard clean up. Pick up twigs and debris. Lightly rake old leaves, grass and snow mold. Dethatch and/or core aerate to increase air circulation.
· Rake up mole “volcanoes”, tramp down tunnels and apply Mole-Max.
· Test soil pH (6.0–7.0). Adjust with lime to raise pH or sulfur to lower pH.
· Fertilize lawn with Step 1 (with crabgrass preventer) or an organic alternative. Ironite will also add nutrients and help greening.
· Re-seed bare spots with grass seed and starter fertilizer or Patchmaster. Grass seed will not germinate until mid-April.
· Have lawn mower tuned-up and the blades sharpened. Clean, tune, sharpen and lubricate other power and hand tools.
· Remove tree trunk guards, winter burlap protection and unnecessary tree supports.
· Prune dead and broken branches from trees and shrubs. Prune suckering growth.
· Perform structural pruning (limb-up, thinning, crossing branches, etc.). Prune spring flowering trees and shrubs after blooming.
· Wait to prune evergreens after new growth in late spring.
· Rake and remove debris from garden beds with minimal disruption to the soil.
· Don’t rush removing winter mulch from roses, mums, etc. until temperatures are reliably warm.
· Cut back any remaining perennial stalks and ornamental grasses (3–6”).
· Pull young weeds in the garden before they flower and seed. Apply a pre-emergent weed seed preventer like Preen. Spot spray weeds with Round Up or an organic alternative.
· Add a 1-2” layer of composted organic material to garden beds (Bumper Crop, Sweet Peat, etc.).
· Start a compost pile or turn over your existing pile.
· Replant perennials and/or shrubs that have been lifted by freeze/thaw.
· Divide and/or transplant mid-summer to fall blooming perennials when soil is workable.
· Plant trees, shrubs and perennials when the soil is workable and plants are available at a reputable garden center (like Lowe’s!).
· Protect tender foliage and/or new flowering growth from freeze or heavy frost with a light cloth cover.
· Wait to plant annuals until after the threat of last frost (mid-late May).
· Apply deer and wildlife pest repellants around vulnerable plants.
· Apply a slow release fertilizer to established trees, shrubs and perennials as new growth emerges (Plant Tone, Osmocote, etc.).
· Resist mulching garden beds until late April to May. Let beds dry and breath. Mulch should be placed around (but not touching) plants at a depth of 2” to suppress weeds and help retain soil moisture.
· Apply dormant oil spray to trees and shrubs (magnolia, crabapple, euonymus, etc.) that are susceptible to scale, spider mite and aphid damage. Spay when buds are swelling and temperatures are between 40-70 degrees.
· Spay lime sulfur oil on fruit trees and berry bushes to control over wintering insects and leaf curl.
· Till vegetable garden to a depth of 10-12” when soil is dry. Let soil settle for 2 weeks before planting.
· Start vegetable seeds indoors (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumbers and brussels sprout). Use sterile containers/trays, seed starting soil and place in a warm, sunny spot.
· Plant cool season vegetables in late March to early April (lettuce, potatoes, beets, peas, spinach, kale, onion sets, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprout, carrots, chard, turnips, kohlrabi and radish).
· Clean statuary, fountains, birdbaths and potting containers with a 10:1 water and bleach solution.
· Repair fences, trellises and other plant supports.
· Treat the perimeter and interior of the house for insects.
· Inventory garden supplies such as: potting soil, planters, fertilizer, mulch, and insect/pest/disease controls.
GET DOWN, GET DIRTY AND HAVE FUN!!!