Get ready to pick up the pace

Published 11:29 pm Saturday, February 23, 2008

If it has been a somewhat slow time of the year for you, the pace is about to pick up rapidly in the upcoming weeks.

Now is the time to start preparing for the spring, which officially begins March 20. The following are questions we received in relation to preparing for the spring.

Q. What should I be doing now to prepare for a spring flower bed?

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For starters if you intend to have the magnificent garden people drive by and stop to look at it does not happen over night or by chance, it requires lots of work and preparation.

Now is the time to walk through the yard with a pencil and paper and make three lists; what you have to do, what you need to do, and what you want to do. Post the list inside on the fridge and whenever you have some free time you can slowly knock out tasks before they all fall on you at one time.

Chores you have to do may include corrective pruning that should be done on trees and shrubs before spring buds break, removing dead or undesired shrubs or flowers, preparing purchase lists of flowers, and other essential maintenance needs.

Chores you need to do may include selecting new varieties of flowers and shrubs to plant, or purchasing seeds through mail catalogs. Finally, the want/wish list may include redesigning the flower beds, adding yard art, or renovating the entire landscape. Just remember if you plan ahead of time, thinking through all options, study lawn or gardens you like for ideas, make a list, and work on it slowly you are more likely to develop your dream garden.

But be patient, the garden you have in your mind as a dream garden will probably take longer than one spring to get right, it may take a few years.

Q. When should I begin watching for ants?

Ants are out now. But with soil temperature beginning to rise, fire ant activity and numbers are about to be increasing. Prepare yourself for this headache and go on the offense to keep them out of your yard.

I would strongly recommend you collaborate with neighbors if you live in a neighborhood to get a community approach to eliminating ants or the ants will simply play musical chairs from yard to yard all summer.

Q. Can I still plant tulips and daffodils for the spring?

If you have not planted spring bulbs yet you may be a little late. Bulbs should have been planted in November or December.

You can still plant them and hope for the best but you probably won’t get the root development, bloom and growth as expected.

Q. With temperatures warming can I begin fertilizing my lawn?

Now is not the time to fertilize your lawn, wait a few more months.

However, February is the time to fertilize fruit trees. So if you have pecan, apple, pear, peach or plum tree, you can begin fertilizing them now to help give them a boost for the upcoming growing season. Fertilization rates vary depending on the age and type of tree so visit our Website at for specific amounts.

David carter is the director of the Adams County Extension Service. He can be reached at 601-445-8201.