Early Season Garden Fun

With the beautiful February thaw weather that we have been having, has everyone had a chance to get out into your yard and garden to see how things are doing?

It has been an interesting winter season.  There has been a fair amount of steady snowfall over the course of the last several months.  So much so that in the lowest, shadiest areas of the year, where the snow piles up and never sees the sun, there has been snow that hasn’t gone away since late November.  The good thing about that is we have not had to apply very much winter watering to the landscape.  Mother Nature has done a pretty good job of taking care of that for us except in those south facing exposures.

The bad thing about extended snow cover is that our lawns and garden plants have been buried for an extended period of time.  This condition can result in the promotion of fungal diseases of our plants.  In the lawn, check for signs of snow mold, a white fluffy fungus on the blades of grass where they have stayed wet without being exposed to the air.  A gentle raking with lift the leaves allowing the fresh air to dry up the fungus without too much extra concern.

In your perennial beds, if you did not have an opportunity to get the plants cut back before the snow started to fly last fall, you might find a little extra mold and fungus on the dead plants.  Now would be the perfect time to cut them back and clean out any diseased plant debris so that as new growth begins to emerge, it is not infected by the fungus.  Nothing that a little sun light and good air circulation won’t take care of.

It’s still pretty early but take a look for signs of new plant growth both in the lawn and perennial beds.  Get your old ornamental grasses cut back now 4-6” above the soil because new growth is beginning and you do not want the new growth to get tangled up in the old leaves.  Probably early season bulbs are beginning to show up, especially if they were planted shallow in a warm location.  Take a look for buds beginning to swell on your early season shrubs and trees.  The signs of spring are all around!