Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mild March Madness

Did you know that this was the first March in recorded history that Minnesota (and parts beyond) did not receive a single flake of snow? In fact, we have not officially had any snow since Valentine’s Day (which I remember vividly as I drove through it on the way back from a nice date with my wife in St. Cloud.) But other than that, it has been a rather unique and unseasonable March, in a good way, that is.

At least, that's how it has been for us up here on the northern hinterland. Judging from the Facebook photos I have seen from my relatives as far south as Arkansas, Missouri, and even in other places around of the Southeast, they all got their fluke“snowball’s chance in h*ll” snowstorm once, twice, or maybe even three times this year, with the last one being in March. Go figure.

Well, most everyone who filled out an NCAA bracket probably saw their bracket crumble, and may have scored their all-time lowest point totals in recorded history at the hands of the UNI Panthers, Butler, and St. Mary’s.  Now, the Final Four has been set and we enter into April tomorrow with 77 degree temperatures. It is time to start preparing for getting the spring landscape up and ready to grow.

There are a few items that could be looked at and addressed in promoting healthy lawns and gardens this April, and help them to get off to a good start and look their best in 2010:

- If you are inclined, dethatch and remove the old leaf litter, infected lawn, and any debris from the previous season. Go ahead and overseed if you would like. Aerate if you would like.  If you are overseeding and want to stop crabgrass, you must use a special type of pre-emergent herbicide called Treble, which won't harm the good seed. Otherwise, you can apply a pre-emergent Crabgrass herbicide with fertilizer to lawns to control annual crabgrass, usually around mid-month when soil temperatures reach 55 degrees and Forsythia is in bloom.

- Dig the mulch from around your perennials a little and watch them come through. Consider adding some compost or organic matter around them. You can Apply Preen or Treflan, or use Corn Gluten Meal if you want more of an eco-friendly choice, to the landscape beds to control annual weeds. Existing weeds can be pulled, or sprayed with Round-up (make sure to follow manufacture's instructions).

- Go ahead and fertilize trees, shrubs, and evergreens.

- Go ahead and spray fruiting trees, like crabapple and hawthorn trees with dormant spray.

Get ready to watch the leaves bud out, and the flowers, bulbs, and spring bloomers come out and bloom.

And, if the NCAA Brackets are at all salvageable, or if you feel the same way I do about college basketball..... please, please, please don’t let DUKE win the NCAA Championship this year!

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