By Trey Pitsenberger, co-owner
is an exciting month here in the foothills. When it
comes to the natural world things are really starting
to wake up for spring. While there is no denying that
cold, rain and frost have the potential to return all
the way to May, there are other days when it feels like
spring. Just look at the quince, flowering pears and
plums, and your rapidly growing lawn to realize that
Mother Nature is waking up. There are many things that
can be done now in the garden that will make for more
enjoyable gardening later.
Speaking of lawns, if you want to prevent crabgrass
and other summer weeds now is the time to apply pre-emergent
on the lawn. Pre-emergent prevents crabgrass and other
weed seed from sprouting. Getting rid of many weeds
is harder than preventing them in the first place. The
late blooming shrub Forsythia, which has bright yellow
flowers, is a plant that blooms when crabgrass is sprouting.
You want to get the pre-emergent applied on the lawn
before the forsythia blooms, which is going to happen
Now is the time to plant the early blooming plants
so as to enjoy the flowers in your yard this year. Flowering
quince, which is blooming now, Daphne, spring blooming
magnolias, flowering plums and pears, Rhododendrons,
Camellias and Viburnums, can all be planted now.
of vegetable gardening this year? Did you know that
some vegetable plants can be planted now? Rhubarb, horseradish,
asparagus, strawberries, onion sets, and potatoes can
be planted directly in the ground before the last frost.
Tender vegetables like tomatoes can be started from
seed in a greenhouse or sunny window now, for later
planting in late April and May. If the ground is dry
enough you can start removing the weeds from the garden
area and begin working in organic matter to loosen the
soil. Most people don’t add enough organic matter
to the garden each year. You should incorporate one
bag of soil conditioner per every 100 or so square feet
each year. This organic matter will help loosen the
soil while helping to promote beneficial microbes in
Don’t forget to add a slow release fertilize with
phosphorus and potassium at the same time.
There is still time to do one last dormant spray of
your fruit trees and vines. Usually a mixture of horticultural
oil and sulphur are sprayed up to the point of bloom.
You cannot spray during or after bloom. It is o.k. to
spray while the buds are swelling. This spray will help
prevent diseases and insects from attacking the plants
If you are thinking of planting fruit trees you should
realize the bare root season is just about over. Bare
root is an inexpensive way to plant fruit trees, but
is only available during the cool part of winter. The
best selection of fruit tree varieties is during the
bare root season, so don’t delay. I give it about
two more weeks before the season is over.