A. Warming Days offer opportunities to jump ahead of the calendar.
B. Many Spring associated chores may be done earlier and very successfully.
C. An ounce of prevention is worth a Pound of Cure.
Cleanliness is next to Godliness
A. Normal Yard Cleanup and sanitation.
1. Leaf removal from open yard areas like lawns and empty gardens (annual-vegetable).
a. Prevents suffocation and disease development.
i. Reduces dead spots and yellowing turf
ii. Remove inoculum to reduce likelihood of disease.
2. Leaf removal from ornamental beds and landscaped areas.
a. Allows for aeration - better gas exchange, looks better, removes inoculum.
B. Prune out all dead tissues and Winter Dieback.
1. Prune back woody shrubs of deadwood and Winter broken branches (mechanical damage).
a. Be sure not to remove living dormant tissues and flower buds: know when shrubs and trees flower.
2. Cut out dead herbaceous plant residue and clean up dead perennial plant residue to their crowns leaving only a small amount of tissue.
3. Remove Old decorative mulch and re-apply with new, fresh, clean, material – only 2 inches thick in most cases.
4. Avoid large “woodchips” or “Pine bark Nuggets” use finer Cedar or Hardwood bark mulches.
a. Prevent Nitrogen migration and Artillery Fungus problems.
b. Aerates, improves appearance, and removes disease inoculum.
i. Prevent Roses, azaleas, hydrangeas, rhododendrons and other ornamentals from rain splashed diseases.
ii. Eliminate potential insects problems by exposing overwintering organisms to cold.
C. Fertilize with organic based products prior to introducing new mulch.
a. Drill and aerate within rootzone area with earth auger or similar drill bit.
i. Two to four inches for perennials, six for Roses and smaller shrubs and trees.
ii. Six to eight inches for larger Evergreen and Deciduous Trees.
D. Build Composting systems
a. Circular fenced in area using 4’ welded wire and steel fence posts.
b. Multiple pallets arranged into contiguous squares utilizing eye & hook hardware.
c. Commercial compost tumblers, balls, bins, and the like.
d. Piles in remote areas.
1. Utilize compost activators or inoculum from neighbor’s compost pile or woodland area.
Thirty parts Brown (carbon) to 1 part green (nitrogen).
Bacteria 4 - 10 : 1 C : N.
E. Utilize anti-Tran spirants, anti- desiccants to protect awakening buds, branches and tissues.
a. Locks in moisture prevents drying and wind damage.
F. Spray with Copper based Fungicide prior to other applications of the above.
a. Prevents early Spring disease inoculum from getting a foothold.
G. Clean and sharpen tools.
Lawn mower Blades, Pruners, Hoes, Shovels, Trowels and Transplanters.
H. Clean out window boxes, whiskey barrels and other larger above ground containers.
Wash them along with: Birdbaths, hummingbird feeders, bird feeders.
I. Apply organic moss killers to patios, walkways, fences, roofs, and sidings.
J. Set up Rain Barrels to collect fresh rain water—The Best For Plants!
K. Replace edging materials, bricks, flagstones and other things Frost Heaved or Damaged by the cold.
L. Wash house siding and windows before ornamentals leaf out, flower, or go into growth stages.
M. Inspect plants as they come out of their dormancies to catch disease and insect problems that are tied to growth stages. “Growing Degree Days. “
N. Monitor temperatures and precipitation to determine timing of lawn aeration, fertilization, seeding, pre-emergent weed controls, dormant insecticide spraying, weed killer applications and the like.
O. Remember to watch for Nature’s signs and emulate Her whenever possible.
Rick’s e-mail: Rick@grossmans.com