44April 29, 2015

It’s hard to believe that it is almost the month of May. It still seems to feel too cold for this late in April.

Many of you have been cleaning up your yard. The snow is finally gone from the shady areas next to our driveway. The driveway is covered in sand. If you think about it, that sand on the driveway contains a lot of salt. If this is the case in your driveway, don’t use that sand to fill in holes in the yard or don’t place it on any of your gardens. The salt in the sand will damage the soil and any type of plants that would grow in that soil. Sweep up that sand and put it in a bucket or a plastic bag and save it for next winters’ slick spots on the driveway.

Many of you have been feeding the birds this winter. There may have been a lot of seed spilled under the feeder. Shells of the sunflower seed can damage the soil. When you are raking, make sure to get all of that old seed off the ground, particularly if the seed has fallen on the lawn.

Many of you have fertilized your lawn and the lawn has begun to green up. If you have shrubs that you want to fertilize, keep in mind that any of the spring flowering shrubs only need one application of fertilizer and that application is done when the plants have finished flowering. These plants would include rhododendron and azaleas to name a few. Any of the broadleaf evergreens that don’t flower can be fertilized now. Trees will benefit from an application of fertilizer in the spring. You can place granular fertilizer around the base of the tree. I tell people to avoid using the tree spikes because they can cause damage to the roots of young trees. It is advisable to water in the fertilizer you applied under the trees. Even if it rains, the rainwater may not get down through the branches of the trees.

Many of you will be pulling out those containers and filling the containers with flowers. Whenever you are filling any container with flowers or vegetable plants, you always want to use potting soil to fill those containers. There is a temptation to use cheaper topsoil or soil from the garden. Potting soil is blended to allow plant roots to grow properly in the soil. If you use topsoil or soil from the garden, the soil can be so dense that the soil settles to the point that plant roots cannot grow in the soil. If roots can’t grow than the plants won’t grow. Always use potting soil in any container.

As the weather warms up in early May, you may be tempted to plant your tomato and pepper plants. After all, the plants are available in many stores. However, these plants can be killed by a frost in May. Traditionally, these tender plants are put into the ground at the end of May. I know that we have had the ability to put plants in early the last few years. This spring has been a weird spring, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a frost in mid May this year. I have always had a saying that there is a name for people who plant the frost sensitive flowers and vegetables too early.  Repeat customer!!

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