Get Ready for Spring With Wintertime Garden Chores

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The cold weather makes it difficult to think about gardening, but there are a few things that you can do now to get your space ready for the spring.

Spring fertilizer is normally applied to cool season lawns in February. Other area of your garden can keep you busy; ornamentals and fruit trees, as well as bird feeders and birdhouses, could benefit from a little attention during the winter months.

Ornamentals:

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  • Take stem cuttings from house plants for rooting.
  • Try your hand at air-layering plants like ficus trees, dieffenbachia, dracaena and rubber trees.
  • Evergreen shrubs can be pruned.
  • Most trees and shrubs can be planted if the ground is not frozen or too muddy.
  • Fertilize shade trees if they have not been growing well.
  • Shade trees benefit from having mulch in the area under the branch spread.
  • Liriope and ornamental grasses can be cut back if desired.
  • Avoid pruning spring blooming shrubs as this will remove the spring flowers.
  • Check house plants for insects. Look carefully at the bottom side of leaves.

Fruits:

  • Prune grape vines.
  • Do not prune fruit trees until March.

Vegetables:

  • Pull winter weeds and apply fresh mulch to the asparagus bed.
  • Want to plant asparagus? Order crowns now and start double digging a bed.
  • If the weather is nice and the soil is in good condition, turn a bed for February planting of peas and kale.
  • Start your garden plan on paper as you browse the garden catalogs. This will help prevent ordering more than you have room to plant.

Other:

  • Clean out bird houses and put up new ones. Bluebirds and some other songbirds start scouting for spring nest boxes in February.
  • Get the lawn mower and other equipment serviced before it is needed in the spring.