Thursday, April 3, 2014

Timely Tips for Spring by Master Gardener Bonnie Olliver

·         Now that the soil can be worked (crumbles in your hand when squeezed), consider doing a Penn State soil test. Kits are$9 and available at our Extension office.

·         Direct-seed cool weather crops such as peas, radishes, spinach, arugula and Swiss chard.

·         Indoors, start seeds of tender vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.

·         Prune peach, plum and cherry trees in mid-April.

·         Fertilize spring flowering bulbs when the leaves become established. Remove faded flowers to eliminate seed formation and fertilize once more with a 5-10-5 or its equivalent. Allow foliage to grow "naturally" (don't braid it) and remove when it turns yellow and comes out when gently pulled.

·         Keep mulch on plants until soil temperature remains well above freezing to prevent frost from "heaving" the root system.

·         Seeing forsythia plants in full bloom is usually a good indicator of when to apply pre-emergent herbicide for crabgrass control.

·         Prune spring flowering shrubs shortly after the flowers fade.

·         Spring pruning of roses should be done a week or so before the last killing frost in your area. Leave three to six strong canes, pruning out dead or “spindly” branches.

·         Cut back perennials and ornamental grasses that were left standing for winter interest.

·         When they first emerge and are small, divide summer and fall-blooming perennials such as asters, astilbe, chrysanthemum, coral bells, daylilies and hostas.

·         Prune out old raspberry canes.

·         Celebrate Earth Day on April 22 and Arbor Day on April 25th!

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