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Getting Your Garden Ready for Spring!

February 2012 - News From the Watering Hole...

Even though it’s February and frost is on the ground most mornings, it’s time to start thinking about what we need to get our gardens ready for spring. Here are some ideas you can do before the warm weather arrives and the ground is still soft enough for you to dig in!

Deciduous Trees & Shrubs
Believe it or not, now is the time to act while they are dormant. Identify and mark any branches that need to be taken off, but don't cut them yet - wait to do the actual pruning once the weather has warmed and the branches are growing.  In addition, go ahead and rid your trees and shrubs now of any suckers shooting up near the base of where they grow.

Perennial Pruning
Now is the time to cut back any perennials in your garden before they start to grow. Cut the leaves and stalks back almost to ground level, but wait until the perennials have started to grow again before replanting or dividing them.

Ornamental Grasses
Get rid of the dead foliage in your ornamental grasses. Use manual grass clippers or scissors to cut back dead foliage. Tall grasses can be cut to about 6 inches, while smaller grasses should be cut down to 3 inches.

Birdbath and Bird Feeder Maintenance
Take time to clean and wash your birdbaths and bird feeders. You can refill your birdbath once you're sure the water won't freeze, but allow your bird feeders time to dry thoroughly before you refill them with seed.

Garden Tools
Don’t forget about your gardening  tools!  They are the cornerstone of every gardeners arsenal of equipment.  Taking good care of this investment pays dividends for years to come.  If you didn't do it last fall, clean the blades of your shovels, hoes, pruners, loppers and any other digging tools with Varsol or turpentine.  Next, add a few drops of oil on the blades and hinges.  Finally, use a file to sharpen them or have them professionally sharpened.  Doing so will make them easier to work with in the spring and launch your 2012 gardening season off to the right start.

Fertilize
Spread slow-release fertilizer on your lawn, now, while it's still cold-so once the weather starts to warm up, your lawn will get a good healthy start to the growing season.

Until Next Month....Happy Gardening!