SPRING EQUINOX – MARCH 20, 2013
In the northern hemisphere the March equinox marks the start of spring and has long been celebrated as a time of nature’s renewal. This year’s March equinox falls on the 20th – less than 2 weeks away. We welcome spring’s increasing daylight, warming temperatures, and the rebirth of flowers and plant life.
Mother Nature has teased us this year: sunny, seventy degree weekends in January followed by thunder snow in February. Although the temperatures for early March have been chilly, spring is on its way. It’s time to tackle some maintenance now to get the yard ready before the burst of sudden growth. Here’s a checklist of early spring lawn care and landscaping tips.
1 - SPRING CLEAN-UP OF LAWN AND ORNAMENTAL BEDS
Winter weather means that most lawns have at least one or two waste can loads of debris that have fallen over the past few months. Twigs, brush, gum balls, and tree limbs need to be picked up. Leaves need to be removed from lawn areas as well as flower and shrub beds. An uncluttered lawn paves the way for the application of spring nutrients and future mowing. Neat and tidy beds are the foundation for installing mulch or pine needles.
2 - REJUVENATE THE LAWN
Pre-emergent herbicide is typically formulated with a fertilizer. This dual compound should be applied to lawns in Gastonia, North Carolina during the last week of February or the first week of March. Here at Morrison Lawn & Landscape we do a split application so that half of the chemicals are applied in late February/early March and the other dose is applied 6 weeks later in April for a total of 12 weeks coverage. We also rotate our pre-emergent herbicide every 2 years to reduce the chance of developing a pre-emergent resistant species of weed.
You may have noticed that several types of winter annual weeds have sprouted in the lawn – henbit, chickweed, clover, dandelion, and Carolina geranium are most common in this area. A post-emergent herbicide for broadleaf weeds can be sprayed for control. If you are using a weed killer whose active ingredient is 2,4-D then you should consider the weather and timing. These herbicides have optimal effectiveness under the following conditions: 50 degree or higher temperature, no rain for 24 hours, and if mowing, the application should be made mid-cycle of the cut so that the weeds are actively growing.
3 – BED PREPARATION
Remove plant stalks and dead foliage (hostas, lilies, black-eyed susans, etc). Trim monkey grass before new shoots sprout. Pull weeds by hand. Deadhead pansies. Divide perennials. Lightly feed the bed with the appropriate fertilizer. Treat the bed with pre-emergent for weed control.
4 – PRUNING
Springtime is the right time to prune some shrubs and the wrong time to prune others. First, look through your yard to see if there is any damage from the winter. Any broken, bent, twisted or otherwise undermined branching should be pruned now regardless of the plant type. A clean cut is easier for the plant to heal from as it emerges from dormancy.
Second, select your shrubs and trees that have not set their buds for this year. Examples would be spiraea, abelia, butterfly bush, rose of sharon, and crepe myrtles. Third, don't forget rose pruning in this task. If you have shrub roses, climbing roses, and rambling roses, now is the time to prune. Prune the roses down by removing one quarter to one third of the plant and also any dead canes.
Shrubs that set their buds in the fall shouldn’t be pruned and fertilized until after they bloom. These flowering shrubs include azaleas, rhododendrons, mountain laurel, forsythia, and indian hawthorn.
5 - MULCH
After removing everything that you don’t want growing in your beds, it’s time to renovate. In addition to providing decorative value, topdressing provides many benefits to your flower and shrub beds. A spring application of mulch or pine needles will help with weed control, moisture management, and soil insulation. Natural mulches decompose with time, releasing small amounts of nutrients and organic matter to the soil.
Morrison Lawn & Landscape is ready to take the work off your hands and help you to prepare your landscape for the spring. If you have interest for us to visit your Gastonia, NC property for a free consultation for lawn service and landscaping needs, contact us today at (704) 813-2545. Click here to contact us via email.