Spring is almost here! What a wonderful feeling to be able to spend more time outside enjoying what Mother Nature is unfolding before our eyes.
The lengthening of days is a welcome sight, and the warm sun on our faces is also a very great feeling. We “spring forward” with daylight-saving time on Sunday, March 10, this year. That in itself is exciting.
The grass will be greening up and mowing time is just around the corner. Mow lawns now to remove old growth and the last of winter’s leaves before new growth begins.
Thin spots and bare patches in the lawn can be over seeded now if you don’t intend to use a crabgrass preventer on your lawn. Last summer’s heat and drought may make this a necessity this spring, if you missed the opportunity last fall.
If you don’t over seed your lawn, now is the time to apply Fertilome Crabgrass Plus Lawn Food. We have long summer seasons here, and actually recommend that you make two applications of this product (four to six weeks apart) to keep your yards crabgrass free this summer.
Begin spring cleanup of perennial beds this month. Cut perennials to 3 inches above the ground. Remove damaged foliage and old flower stalks. Ornamental grasses and hardy hibiscus can be pruned back to 6 inches above the ground now.
Once flower beds have been cleaned up, re-mulching can be done. Be sure not to mulch on the crowns of plants.
Top dress or dry feed beds with a granular fertilizer, such as Osmocote, and apply a pre-emergent if you do not plan to plant any flower seeds. Pre-emergent products will put down a barrier over your flower beds that keep weed seeds from germinating, making weeding an easier job this summer.
Divide summer and fall blooming perennials now, along with ornamental grasses if you so desire.
Plant/sow peas, lettuce, radish, kohlrabi, collards, turnips, potatoes, spinach, onion sets, beets, carrots, and parsley outside this month. Set out broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, cauliflower and pansy transplants now. This month is also great for setting out strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, grapes and fruit trees.
Start seeds indoors this month for tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. And houseplants can still be repotted. Continue to check houseplants for overwintering insect populations.
Nesting boxes for bluebirds can be set up as well as purple martin houses. Purple martins return to our Zone 6 region between St. Pat’s Day and the end of the month. So, now is the time to clean out those houses and be prepared.
It is time to go, so we will “See you in the garden!”
This monthly column is written by Sandi Hillermann McDonald of Hillermann Nursery & Florist.