It's Time to Wake Up the Yard
March is finally here. It’s time to get the yard ready for spring. A few timely outdoor chores now can save you hours of ugly work later in the growing season. A little TLC now can also help many of your plants that, like most all plants, took a large weather hit. The following is my easy list of chores for you to follow.
Rake or blow and collect all fallen leaves on your lawn and on your planting beds. Do not leave any leaves that are trapped under your trees and shrubs.
Cut off annuals at the ground decomposing roots help build the soil. Cut back the dead stems on any of your perennials. Prune any ornamental grass back to the ground. Loosen any left over mulch from last year with a garden cultivator or steel rake. Do not add any new mulch at this time. The ground is extremely wet from all the winter moisture and the soil could use lots of new oxygen to help all the plant roots breathe. Do not re-mulch until at least mid-April.
This is a great time to fertilize all your planting beds. A granular, all purpose, balanced plant food distributed on top of the beds will easily do the job. Follow the label for the amount to use. Fertilome’s Garden Cote™ as well as Osmocote™ are great granular time release plant foods that will feed all season long.
Apply a weed seed preventer to the soil in your beds. The two most popular ones are Preen™ and Dimension™. These products kill any weed seed in your beds before they can germinate. Reapply Preen every 90 days and Dimension every 120 days to keep your beds weed free the entire season.
A great tool that makes the application of fertilizer, weed preventer, and grass seed go very fast and easy is a hand held spreader applicator available to purchase at any place yard tools are sold.
While working in your beds, if you notice any broken branches on your shrubs, prune that stem just below the break. Do not do any general pruning to any of your spring flowering trees and shrubs until after they bloom.
Do not trim back any Clematis vine or large leaf Hydrangea. It’s too early to tell what is dead or alive.
You can prune back all your roses including Knock Outs now. Prune all the rose canes back to 8-10” from the ground. The only exception would be any climbers. Only prune damaged or extra long canes that have grown out of bounds. Climbers will bloom this year on the canes that grew last year. Remove any winterizing material you might have placed around your rose canes.
Now is a great time to apply Fertilome Tree and Shrub Systemic Soil Drench™ around the base of any Rose, Azalea, and Boxwood to take care of any insects all season with just one application to the soil. Remember, all those holes in your Knock Out leaves last year? They were cause by the Rose Slug and this one treatment will eliminate that problem.
Today could be your last opportunity to winter seed your lawn. Simply distribute grass seed to those bare and weak areas of the lawn. No soil prep is necessary if you seed by March 15th
For those who did not winter seed, go ahead and put down your pre-emergent crabgrass control. For those that did winter seed, wait to put down until your new seed starts to grow. Buy a pre-emergent that has Prodiamine™ as the active ingredient. It controls weed seed for up to 8 months and not just 90 days like the others control. Most all pre-emergents come with a light feeding of lawn food included. This will be all the fertilizer your lawn will need this spring. Fall is when you apply the majority of your lawn food. Take your mower blade to mower shop to have the blade professionally sharpened so it remains balanced. Start mowing when the grass starts growing.
As your spring bulbs continue to grow, fertilize any that did not get fed when you fertilized your planting beds. Bulbs are very cold hardy. Do not cover during any cold weather.
When you’ve completed these chores, go treat yourself and you neighbors to some early yard color. Go plant some pansies.
Listen to Denny 8-10am Saturdays on Realtalk 1160AM
Contact Denny McKeown, owner of Bloomin Garden Centre in Blue Ash, at www.bloomingarden.com