Spring Cleaning in the Garden
For those of you like me waiting for spring to arrive, get excited because it’s just over a month away! The problem is, of course, that it is still winter which means we are not past the chance of a hard freeze hitting our already hard-hit landscapes. So what should you do to get your garden cleaned up and looking beautiful again?
First things first, wait! It’s tempting to go out now with the weather warming up to start pruning all the black stems and pulling up what you think are dead plants, but you risk exposing tender new growth to another hard freeze if it comes. It’s best to wait until mid-March to start your garden cleaning just to be on the safe side. And what you think is dead may very well still be alive. Root hardy perennials such as firebush and porterweed look like death now, but come spring they’ll start producing new growth from the roots. For the plants that didn’t survive, the Marion County Master Gardeners’ annual Spring Festival is coming on March 10 and 11th with plant vendors from across the region. More information can be found here:
If you want to fertilize and kill weeds it is too late for pre-emergent herbicides to be effective and it’s still too early to fertilize. Once the azaleas and redbuds start to bloom and we get a few consecutive days of 65-75 degree weather, it’s too late for pre-emergent herbicides to work. Also, our lawns and landscape plants haven’t awoken from their winter dormancy so most if not all of the fertilizer you lay down now will go to waste and pollute our water bodies. The recommendation is to wait until mid-March (sound familiar) to put down your first application of lawn and ornamental landscape fertilizer.