49March 23, 2011
Don’t be in a hurry to work on your lawn
For many of you, the snow has melted in your yard. You can probably see the grass and you have the urge is to start working on the lawn. At this point in time, the lawns are still very wet from all of the melting snow. The soil is still very cold. The combination of these 2 things makes it difficult to do much of anything to your lawn. One of the national chains is running radio ads telling you that it is time to put a lawn fertilizer with crabgrass control onto your lawn. Now this may be true in some of their sales area, but it is way too early to be applying this product in our area. This product works by killing the crabgrass seed as it germinates. Crabgrass seed sprouts at about the same soil temperature that causes the forsythia bushes to go by flower. To give you an idea of the timing for our area, you would normally apply this product anywhere from the third week in April until the second week in May. If you apply the product too early, the effectiveness of it will be greatly diminished. If you have the need to buy the product now, hey, help the economy out. But, don’t apply the product until you have finished all of the raking up of this winter’s debris and until you see the forsythias in bloom.
It is also way too early to be applying grass seed to your lawn. If you wish to feed the birds, I’ll gladly sell you some birdseed. Otherwise wait until you see the grass greening up and you have had to cut the grass several times.
Once the lawn has dried sufficiently, you can do your raking and then you can apply some lime. Please wait a bit longer before you do any of your other early spring lawn chores.
Since the snow has melted, now would be a good time to remove the winter mulch you have applied around your plants. This will allow the soil to warm up gradually and it will allow the plants to break dormancy at their own speed. Once your perennials begin to show some growth, you can give them an application of fertilizer. You should wait longer before you fertilize your shrubs. I’ll let you know when it is the right time.
You can prune out any damaged growth on your rosebushes now and you can prune away any stems and branches that have died over the winter. Apply a bit of lime to the soil around the rosebushes but wait a few more weeks before you apply any fertilizer.
Well, I hope I haven’t disappointed too many of you who, like me, are sick of winter and want to do something in the yard. A few warm days in late March does not constitute the real start of spring. Just be a bit more patient and soon enough we will all be moaning about how our backs hurt from all of the yard work.
Well, that’s all for this week. If you are in the area on Friday night, I will be giving a talk to the Friends of the Salisbury Library. It will be at the Hilton Center in Salisbury.
I’ll talk to you again next week.