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It’s spring – let gardening begin - MessAge Media: Home Garden

It’s spring – let gardening begin

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Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2015 6:00 am

Yeah! Spring is finally here! Let the gardening begin!

Whoo hooo! Finally. We made it. Congratulations. The winter is almost, completely, finally, over and we can start getting out into our yards and gardens again.  

Snap on your garden gloves, put on your protective eyewear, throw on your Red Barron scarf, and get out there.

Now that we are standing in the middle of the yard, looking around, you ask, “What? What am I supposed to be doing?” That is a good question and I hope you are up for the answer. There is a lot of work ahead getting things in shape for the upcoming seasons of pleasure.

Pruning: Remove damaged, broken, and diseased stems/ branches. Be sure to disinfect your pruning tools between cuts. Use a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water, or wipe off with rubbing alcohol.

Spring flowering shrubs, such as lilacs, forsythia, bridal wreath spirea, azaleas, etc.  should not be pruned until after they are through flowering. The flower buds were set last year and if you prune now, the plant will not flower this spring. If you need to prune, accept the fact you will lose this year’s bloom, it is OK to prune as it does not hurt the plant. Next year you will be rewarded with ample flowers and a nice shaped plant.  

Summer and fall flowering shrubs can be pruned now if you haven’t already done so during the winter months. Late winter pruning/very early spring will not harm these flowering shrubs as they set the blossoms as they start growing.

Trees: Trees can be pruned during the winter months. If you haven’t done so already do it now. Large pruning projects are best done by arborists and professionals.

Oaks can still be pruned now. Remember the old adage for oaks, “April, May and June do not prune!” The reason for this is to not spread the oak wilt disease which is active during this time frame.  

HINT:  If you’re pruning crabapples, pussy willows, forsythia and other flowering shrubs, bring the pruned stems into the house, place them in water, and you will have booms indoors!

Repotting house plants:

Geraniums: Did you over-winter your geraniums? They can be potted/repotted in March. Use a good potting soil and a clean container. If you reuse a container (pot) be sure to disinfect it with a 1/9 bleach solution to kill off any unwanted pathogens. And be sure the container has drainage holes. Prune back plants four-six inches from the top of the container and water thoroughly.  

Houseplants: Take cuttings and root them in water, vermiculite/perlite or well drained potting soil. If you have ivies, pathos philodendrons, Swedish ivies (green and/or black), etc. you can use these cuttings in your outside container gardens this spring – free plants.

Start fertilizing your houseplants using a diluted solution- not: usually one-half or one-fourth of recommended amount but check the label for complete instructions.

Well, I have run out of allotted space and still have a lot to tell you. However, I will leave  with these important words of wisdom: Stay off your grass until it has dried off from winter snow melt/early spring rains. Walking or driving unneeded equipment will compact the soil. Heavily compacted soil will not return completely, if ever, depending on how deep it has been compacted.

I know you are anxious to get ‘r done, but have patience as you will be well rewarded.  

Janice Hasselius, originally from Aitkin, has been a University of Minnesota Master Gardener since 2000.

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