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Cannon: Get your garden ready for spring

POSTED: February 27, 2009 1:00 a.m.

As spring approaches, what do I need to do to have my yard and garden beds ready to go?

February is a good time to get started.

Trees

First, now is the time to prune your pear and apple trees, but don't touch your peach trees till March. Also, this is a good time to prune your grape vines and blueberry bushes. Grape vines may bleed some, but this is not harmful to the plant. It tends to happen when we have a few warmer days in the month.

Branches of overgrown fig bushes should be pruned back about a quarter of their length. Try to save the horizontal branches to encourage new growth. This will increase the summer fruit growth.

Cut spirea, forsythia and quince branches and bring indoors; they make beautiful arrangements and they bloom within a few days.

Grass

Get rid of the crabgrass in your yard with some lawn weed pre-emergents. This will take care of those green winter weeds. If you have fescue grass, the end of February is a good time to apply fertilizer. Any type of turf fertilizer will work well. Reapply in April.

Turn that cold lawn mower on, choose a high setting and cut back the liriope (monkey grass).

Remove any wire or stakes that might be lying around, rethink your lawn design and remove sharp edges or narrow paths. Substitute mulch or a groundcover in those areas.

Need to know how much lime your lawn or garden needs? Now is a good time to test your soil. You can bring your soil (at least a cup or two) to the extension office and get a soil test bag. The extension office will send the soil out and you can get your results in about a week.

Itching to plant?

There are few things you could plant now if you want to get started. A spring garden can be created by planting English peas, onions or asparagus. If you want a fragrant flower for later, plant sweet pea now. Consider planting the evergreen groundcover Lenten rose (hellabores), which will supply winter flowers.

Construction projects

Consider getting started on building that raised bed for your vegetable garden. They are easy to build and a great way to keep your garden free of weeds and other problems that occur from growing right into the ground soil.

Thanks to Walter Reeves' garden tips.

Wanda Cannon is a Master Gardener trained through the Hall County program and also serves as Master Gardener coordinator and horticulture assistant for the Hall County Extension office. Phone: 770-535-8293.



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