After a particularly cold winter, it looks like spring is finally here. The plants in the Errol McKoy Greenhouse on the Midway are starting to wake up and put on their bright new leaves. The bougainvilleas are especially pretty right now as they produce a huge bloom this time of year.
Spring is a very active time for a gardener and there are many different things you need do to prep your yard and flowerbeds. It’s best to get a lot of the gardening tasks done this time of year before the blistering heat of summer sets in. Here is a handy list of tasks that will help you grow a lush lawn and beautiful flowers this time of year:
1. Fertilize the lawn
Fertilizer bags will have three numbers on them. The three numbers represent the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium in the bag. Get a fertilizer that has mostly or nothing but nitrogen (the first of the three numbers), as it is what our lawns need most here in Texas. 20-5-10 or 24-6-12 or 15-0-0 are all good formulations to look for, but there are a lot of good options on the market these days.
2. Fertilize trees and shrubs
Don’t forget to fertilize existing trees and shrubs. These plants need a spring snack too! Don’t use weed and feed around them as the weed component can damage your plants.
3. Perfect time to plant
Spring is for planting! It’s time to plant annuals like zinnias, petunias and begonias. Perennials like Daylilies, Salvia and Coneflower should be planted now. Any trees and shrubs that you didn’t get planted this fall and winter can still be planted now, as well. Last but not least, it’s time to start warm season veggies like tomatoes and peppers.
4. Mulch, mulch, mulch
After you get all your planting done, put down a one-to-two inch layer of mulch over your flower beds and veggie gardens. This will help keep weeds out and conserve water by keeping your soil moist.
5. Water smart
Put your plants and lawn on a regular watering schedule this month. Remember, our lawns need about an inch of water a week, either from us watering or from rain, to perform their best. An easy trick to make sure you’re watering enough is to make a mark one inch from the bottom of the inside of an empty tin can. Bury the tin can in the yard and water as you usually do. At the end of the week, check the can. If the water is at the one inch mark, you know you are watering the right amount.
Many people think they must water every day or every other day to have green and healthy turf. This is a common misconception that wastes water and actually weakens your lawn. Horticulturalists recommend watering your lawn deeply and infrequently to promote a strong root system. For more tips on saving water outdoors, visit the Dallas Water Utilities conservation page.
6. Prune flowering shrubs
Begin to prune any spring flowering shrubs like Spirea, Azalea or Chinese Fringe Flower after they finish blooming. Shaping them shortly after they finish blooming will ensure they set lots of blooms for next year, as well.
Getting as many of these tasks done as possible in the spring will help ensure that your lawns and gardens stay healthy and productive all year long. I hope you find these tips helpful. Stay tuned for more gardening tips like these in the months ahead from your State Fair Greenhouse Team. Best of luck this season and happy gardening.
Greenhouse Manager State Fair of Texas