Gardening Checklist Feb/Mar 2013

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This is a great time to be indulgent in thinking about your landscape. What would you like to see more of? Less of? Any big changes needed, like losing the lawn, installing a seating area, irrigation, or creating a veggie bed? What do you really want your yard to provide to you?

Trees, hedges and shrubs:

If it blooms before June, don’t prune, but everything else is fair game! Fruiting trees and shrubs in particular need to be pruned and trained at this time of year to maximize harvest and beauty. A spray of dormant oil and lime sulphur (it’s organic!) will help prevent pest and disease on cherry, apple, maple, etc. It’s also a great time to plant!

Garden beds:

Definitely cut back dead-looking perennials from last year; they harbor fungus. Raking up all the tree litter, though, is optional in February. If it looks unsightly then rake it up (unless you’re growing bananas or other unusual tropicals!). What’s more; do a thorough job pulling weeds and you’ll save HOURS of time weeding later in the season.

Lawns:

Lawns are looking a mess this time of year. To fix: rake well, mow if dry enough, spray moss killer (also organic!) and spread quick-release lime. Be first in your neighborhood to fix up the lawn and get a chuckle as the neighbours race to catch up! This is also a good time of year to use an edger to give perfect definition to the turf areas.

Compost:

Branches and evergreens must be taken away, but everything else can go in the compost. If you already have a compost system this is a good time to use the blackest matter as a top-dressing in the beds while turning the piles and getting a new one started. A two or three bin system is ideal. If you don’t have a compost, this is the time to start one. It’s easy.

Hard surfaces:

If the muck and moss on your driveway or stone-work is just too much, a pressure-wash will make it look so good you’ll be amazed. If your concrete appears more like muddy green carpet than something your good shoes can walk on, a serious pressure-washer will give them a clean footing!