Rushing Spring | Master Gardener℠ Volunteers of Clay County

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By: Eleanor Moyer, Master Gardener℠ Volunteer of Clay County

Oh, any warm, sunny day deepens my desire for Spring to arrive. The calendar binds us, but Spring can be rushed a bit. Cut branches of spring-blooming shrubs on a diagonal and place them in a vase of tepid water in a sunny location inside. Soon, it will be April in your picture window! Forsythia, quince, crabapple, redbud, star, or tulip magnolia are perfect choices. Trees with plump catkins, such as alders, Corylus, or birch also provide dramatic indoor “spring scapes.”

Master Gardeners are working hard to get the Downtown Discovery Garden ready for Spring & their annual Spring Plant Sale!

While gazing at that beautiful sight, it’s time to peruse seed catalogs—money savers and plant educators. Procrastination may foil the most incredible plans. There are the big-name catalogs, but also companies that are off the radar. Just type “seeds” in your search engine and a profusion of choices will pop up. Going “native” is the trendiest garden design now with seed catalogs just for that. There are native plant societies in Georgia and North Carolina that will help steer your selections. Doing this research will amour you against purchasing invasive or noxious plants as sadly many garden centers still provide. When looking for more commonplace bedding annuals, catalogs will expand your creativity and save money. I’m eyeing a strawberry-blonde marigold! All that presupposes you have a plan in mind. Now is the time for vegetable and flower planning with light, water, and soil composition foremost in mind. Be sure to get a sample box to test your soil from the extension office with complete instructions included. Oh, and mark your calendar for Master Gardener’s Spring Plant Sale, May 3-5.

There are other more mundane chores for this time of year. Clean out birdhouses, disposing of the contents away from the site. Bluebirds love pine straw, so you may want to fluff up what you have or buy some new. Prune summer blooming hydrangeas (limelight, paniculata, aborescens, and oak leaf), but not your big leaf varieties with the large blue flowers (macrophylla). It’s also time to prune ornamental grasses, liriope, and mondo grass before new growth starts. Now is the perfect time to clean out your perennial borders. Cut back stalks and seed heads that you so generously left to aid overwintering wildlife. Dispose of this away from planting areas as it may harbor disease or unfriendly bugs. Work compost, manure, or worm castings into the top few inches of soil. Dig up those pesky winter weeds being aware that beneficial insects will rely on some for food. Spraying fruit trees and rose bushes with horticultural oil begins before bud break and when temps are above 40 degrees. For complete instructions, go online or in person to the NC Extension office. Check your tools for needed repairs, sharpening, and maintenance. It’s time to do the final application of fertilizer on cool-season grasses this month as mowing is not far behind! After all that, it will be April at least!

Written By

Tyler Osborn, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionTyler OsbornProgram Assistant, Agriculture Call Tyler Email Tyler N.C. Cooperative Extension, Clay County Center
Updated on Feb 26, 2024
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