After being pent up all winter, we’re all ready to say goodbye to coats and shorter days, and say hello to sunshine, flowers, and longer days.  It’s almost time for Spring– and even though WE are ready, are our trees and plants?  Before sprouting and blooming begins, there are a few things to do to gear up for Spring:

CLEANING UP:

  • Start by removing old leaves/limbs/debris from flower beds or garden areas– Add some to your compost pile!
  • Begin hand pulling and spraying sporadic weeds.
  • Add pre-emergent to beds to help prevent new weeds from forming
  • Add fresh mulch to areas that need it

PRUNING:

  • Prune back Crape Myrtles if not already done so in late Winter– but don’t over do it, severely cutting the crape myrtle can lead to unsightly forming “knuckles” and improper new growth.
  • Cut perennials and hostas back to just above the soil level– these will come back with abundance once the weather warms up!
  • Avoid pruning azaleas as these have set buds from the previous season.  Cutting back in early Spring will cause the plant to sporadically bloom or not bloom at all.  Cut back azaleas after they bloom to ensure a heavy bloom next season.
  • Trim deciduous shrubs to desired height(roses, grasses, abelia, spirea, butterfly bushes).
  • Prune evergreens to desired height so that the new season’s growth will start from your cuts.

VEGETABLES:

  • Begin adding organic soil amendments to raised beds and planting area.  Till in, grade, then begin building and forming planting rows.
  • Clean out old pots and begin adding new soil for container herb and vegetable gardening.  With container gardening, even in small spaces, you can have access to fresh produce– just make sure your containers are large enough to hold the vegetables that you are trying to grow,
  • Watch for extended forecasts for late freezes.  The last freeze date for the Memphis area is usually around April 15th(we all know how crazy Memphis weather can be).
  • Don’t get too excited and set tender veggies out too early– you might end up caught with you plants down:).
  • While watching forecasts, keep an eye on rainfall.  If necessary, back off of your watering– this time of year the ground tends to hold more moisture and overwatering can cause disease and root rot(Yikes!).

THINGS TO LOOK FOR:

  • Crape Myrtle scale – A serious new threat to southern crape myrtles.  Signs include: white patches along the nooks and crannies of branches, and black sooty mold along leaves, limbs, and trunk.  Don’t worry this can be treated!
  • Powdery mildew – seen on shrubs and perennials, this condition is caused by over-wet conditions, restricted airflow, and rising temps.  Although not deadly, it can be unsightly and cause plant to under-perform.  This can be treated with a foliar fungicidal spray(come see us if you need some).
  • Black spot – commonly found on roses and other shrubs and is caused by infected stems and last season’s fallen leaves.  This can also be treated with a foliar fungicidal spray.

HOT NEW ITEMS THIS SEASON:

  • Nandinas – As seen in Southern Living as the newest and hottest greenery for spring, we’ve got these new varieties of the popular shrub: “Obsession”, “Flirt”, “Lemon-Lime”, and “Blush”.  These ain’t your grandma’s nandinas:).
  • Loropetalum “Crimson Fire” – This gorgeous shrub has red foliage that lasts all season with vibrant pink flowers in spring.
  • Hydrangeas – We’ve got several new varieties of this southern favorite: “Limelight”, “Little Lime”, and “Bloomstruck”.
  • For color – “Drift” series of groundcover roses, Abelia “Kaleidoscope”(colorful foliage and white flowers), and Muhlenbergia “Pink Muhley” grass.

As you can see, there is PLENTY to do before Spring, so don’t waste any time getting your lawns and gardens in order.  We hope that this checklist will help get you started, but of course if you have any more questions, feel free to come by the nursery or give us a shout.

HAPPY PLANTING!!

–Digger O’Dell Crew