We have officially made it halfway through winter! As of earlier this week, we are now on the downhill slide towards warmer days and I, for one, cannot wait. Even though that pesky Groundhog claims we are in for plenty more winter yet, I refuse to let him damper my mood. I am convinced it will be warm again soon!
With warm weather comes a return to outdoor work, but I look forward to that as well. The lawn will again need regular maintenance and it will be time to plant gardens and such before you know it. Now is the time to make preparations, taking into consideration what your lawn and garden will both require to get off on the right foot. The last frosts of the season will behind some of us sooner than others (depending on where you live) and there is no time like the present to plan for frozen days to be behind us until winter rolls back around. After all, once frozen ground is no longer an issue for you, it is time to start tilling your garden! Have you gotten your seed order planned out and placed or did you retain seeds from fruits and vegetables past?
As far as yard and lawn maintenance goes, for most of the country there is still a need to protect young trees, shrubs, and rose bushes. Anything that may have experienced damage due to all of the ice and snow recently needs to be pruned. If you are storing any bulbs, keep an eye on them and discard any that appear rotten. Continue protecting your plants from the elements but at the same time, do not forget to water them and grant access to sunlight and ventilation as needed.
Grass may be growing in your yard at this time if you live in a warm climate, but even if grass is not growing, weeds probably are. Those pesky things can survive nearly anything it seems, rearing their ugly heads even when ice and snow are plentiful. Continue battling them regardless of temperature with a post emergence herbicide (cool season turf only) so when the rest of your foliage catches up, unsightly weeds will not be front and center at the head of the pack.
Vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, kale, and broccoli could be ready to plant soon, so get those preparations underway. These veggies grow in cool weather, so getting them started soon will help them thrive. If you have fruit trees, consider their needs in comparison to your current weather and do some pruning in addition to possibly spraying them with dormant spray (this must be done between 40-95 degrees Fahrenheit to control wintering insects), preferably before the start of new growth.
Don\'t forget to do some tool maintenance ahead of time. If you have rusty or dull blades, repair or replace those items before you need them ready for use. All power equipment needs to be turned on and run momentarily; this should be done periodically, but if you have neglected the task in the recent months, don\'t neglect it any longer! If your lawn tractor needs a tune-up, there is no time like the present. Grease those zerks on your farm tractor that has been resting all winter and check fluid levels and tire pressure while you\'re at it. You want all of your equipment to be in tiptop condition so your yard and garden will look good and yield impressive, delicious results.
Beginning to make preparations now will have you ready for spring when it rolls around. Hopefully that will be sooner than later regardless of what that Groundhog had to say. With your current vegetation in good shape and your tools and equipment ready to take on the task of creating and maintaining new growth, you will be ready to welcome spring with open arms. May your crops be plentiful, your yard beautiful, and weeds be wiped out of existence!