by Miles Graves
As the temperatures start to warm, we all start to get that excited feeling…“Spring is here and old man winter is long gone!” Sometimes we get so excited, that we think it’s summer time and lawns are ready for our full assault of care. However, you should keep in mind that most plants and all warm season grasses are just awakening and are still 80% dormant. Just like humans, plants prefer to awaken slowly and at a mild pace. That being said, apply these tips to prevent a rude awakening.
1. DO NOT turn your irrigation on. For most lawns in our area, water does not need to be turned on until day time temperatures are consistently in the 70s. Even then, you should only turn your irrigation on if you have not received any rain in the last 7 days or so. This prevents fungus, saves money and leads to an overall healthy lawn.
2. DO NOT fertilize too early. Fertilization is ideally done once the grass is well out of dormancy. Perhaps 80% green. Fertilizing dormant lawns too early can lead to late frost damage, fungus development and product waste. You should not use an “all-in-one” fertilizer that has weed control in early spring.
3. DO NOT hard prune your crape myrtles, DO NOT prune yellow fronds off your palm trees and DO NOT fertilize azaleas before or during blooming.
One last comment: we have had a very severe winter. If some of your plants have frost damage and significant browning, we recommend waiting until you see new leaves emerging before deciding to prune them. This will let you see what is dead and what is alive.