By Paul James
The forecast for this weekend looks absolutely fantastic for getting things done in the yard. And you can bet your begonias I’ll be taking advantage of the warmer-than-average temperatures by tackling more than a few tasks. In case you plan on doing likewise, here’s a list of things to consider.
Plant Trees, Shrubs, and Roses
It’s the perfect time to get deciduous trees and shrubs, including roses, in the ground. And now is also the best time to see their “bones” or bare branches. I actually prefer to select these plants on the basis of their branching alone, because it gives me a better idea of what they’re going to look like once they’re loaded with leaves.
I plan on pruning several small trees and shrubs with an eye toward removing dead or crossing branches, and opening up the interior of the plants. I’ll also be trimming ornamental grasses and cutting back a few perennials. I’ll wait until we get closer to spring to prune evergreens and conifers.
Plant from Seed
Sowing from seed indoors, whether flowers or vegetables or both, is a lot of fun, and you typically have more choices available. What’s more, it’s extremely economical. We’ve got pretty much everything you need to get started, including biodegradable and plastic pots, trays (even self-watering versions), heating mats to boost germination and seedling growth, lights, potting mixes…and seeds, of course!
I’m going to deep soak everything in my landscape on Sunday afternoon, including the lawn, and especially evergreens. It hasn’t been all that dry this winter, but I plan on seizing the opportunity to water anyway.
Want to control pesky weeds in the lawn? Now is the time to do just that by applying a non-selective herbicide (on dormant Bermuda grass only) or a pre-emergent herbicide. We’ve got several products to choose from, but keep in mind that different products control different weeds, and timing their application is fairly critical, so visit our Solution Center to find out which one is right for you.
Make the Most of Leaves
If you’ve still got leaves lying around, do a final cleanup. Use a mulching mower to shred leaves into fine particles, which will add organic matter and nutrients to your lawn. Rake leaves in your flower beds and toss them into your existing compost pile, or use them to start a new one. Composted leaves are the greatest soil amendment money can’t buy, and ultimately they can transform any soil type – from heavy clay to pure sand – into something plants will love to call home.
Get Equipment Repaired
Beat the spring rush by having your power equipment serviced now. If you wait another month, you’ll wind up waiting weeks rather than a few days to get your mower or blower back, and by then it’ll be time to mow and blow.
Clean Garden Tools
Use a steel brush to knock dirt and rust off metal surfaces, then apply a thin layer of oil (Canola works great) and rub it in with a cloth. Rub wooden handles of tools with boiled linseed oil and they’ll last for years to come. And finally, sharpen shovels, hoes, pruners and other cutting tools with a file, or check out the sharpening gizmos we carry.
I’m tempted to plant potatoes and onions this weekend, but I can’t in good faith suggest you do the same. I might even stick a few cole crops --broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower – in the ground, knowing that there’s a good chance I’ll have to cover them once or twice in the weeks ahead. But because the long-range weather forecast looks pretty mild, and because my raised beds warm up quickly on sunny days, I’m probably going to take a chance on getting a few things in earlier than usual.
And if all goes well, I’ll be harvesting earlier than usual too. Yippee!