56 March 17, 2010
I don’t think we will have to worry about drought conditions for quite some time. The forecast for sunny and upper 50’s temperature will be something we can look forward to for later in the week.
With all of the water in the ground, you should be careful if you need to rake up debris off of your lawn. When we have soil that is saturated, the action of raking can actually pull grass right out of the ground. If you wait to rake until the ground is firm to your stepping on it, you will have less damage to the lawn.
The tremendous amounts of rain and the persistent high winds have combined to uproot trees. You may find that this combination has lifted some of your other plants out of the ground or it may have tipped some of the plants from their upright position. You can use your hands or feet to press down around the base of the plant to help to settle the plants back into the ground. At this time of the season, you may be surprised how easy this is to do. Once the plants have been re-settled back into the ground, there will be some root damage from both the re-settling of the plant and from the damage caused by the weather. Once the soil has dried out a bit, you should apply a plant starter fertilizer around the base of the plants. This type of fertilizer will help to stimulate new root growth. It is important to get this new root growth going before the weather really warms up. If the plants have root damage and they cannot get a root system re-established before the warm weather arrives, you will wind up with damage to the top part of the plant.
Customers have been asking if they should be removing the protective mulch that was applied last fall. This type of mulching was done to prevent winter damage. At this point in time, you should be removing that mulch. The soil needs to warm up to help to get your plants out of their winter dormancy. If you leave the mulch on, it will take much longer for the plants to break dormancy. Taking off the mulch now will also allow you to see if the plants have any damage from the strong winds.
The question has also come up about mulching your perennial beds and shrub borders. The soil is just beginning to warm up and applying mulch now will definitely slow down that warming process. It is, after all, only the middle of March. Give Mother Nature a chance to get the soil warmed up before you put the mulch around the plants.
If you need to get your green thumb going, you can plant some pea seed in your vegetable garden. Peas grow best in the cool soil temperatures of early spring.
As the tulips and other plants begin to put out new growth, the rabbits and squirrels will find this new growth a veritable salad bar. You should apply animal repellent on or around your newly emerging plants to prevent damage to these plants. There are many different types of animal repellents. We have them in the store if your gardens are being raided.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.