Get Ready for Spring Planting
There is nothing like a new year to motivate us for a fresh start. I can’t wait to throw open the windows, and let the fresh air clear out the past year! While our first instinct is to begin inside our homes, let’s not forget what’s happening outside. For all of us who like to play in the dirt, Walter Reeves (www.walterreeves.com) provides some expert tips on getting our gardens ready for spring.
Your first step is a soil test if you haven’t tested your soil in two or more years. One of the keys to maintaining a healthy lawn and garden is a proper pH level. PH indicates the acidity or alkalinity of your soil ranging from 1 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Below 7 is acidic while pH above 7 is alkaline. Either extreme prevents plants from utilizing the fertilizer you apply. Typically, most ornamental plants prefer a pH range of 5.2-6.5 while vegetable gardens prefer 6.0-6.5. For information on how to soil test, visit www.cobbmastergardeners.com.
Remember to remove any tree supports (guy-wires, stakes and trunk wraps) from small trees that were planted last fall. Support staking and ties hold the tree upright until it can stand alone and is only meant to be temporary. If left unchecked, ties can cause damage to tender bark or girdle the expanding trunk.
Prune all the brown foliage on ornamental grasses (pampas, maiden grass, etc.) to allow room for new growth. Cut pampas grass down to 12-18 inches high and maiden grass to 8-10 inches high through early March. Make sure any dead plume stems in the center are removed and avoid rounding the top of the clump, either of which will prohibit new growth.
The best time to trim liriope, also known as monkey grass, is January through March. If new growth hasn’t started, you can use either a lawn mower on its highest setting, a hedge trimmer or weed eater to trim old growth. If you see new growth, trim just above any new sprouts.
An extensive list of recommended pruning times is available at www.walterreeves.com by searching “shrub pruning calendar.”
Now is the time to clean out bird boxes, so they will be ready to welcome new families in a few weeks. For more information on preparing for birds, their nesting habitats and installing a nest cam, visit https://nestwatch.org.
So, after you spring clean the inside of your home, don’t forget to head outside and give your yard a spring cleaning to ensure it’s ready for a successful growing season!
Spring Plant Sales
• Pre-orders will be taken through March 5 for the Cobb 4-H Plant Sale Fundraiser. Plants are sold on a first come, first serve basis with limited quantities of all varieties. Plants can be picked up March 20. Find the 2021 plant sale brochure and order form at https://extension.uga.edu/county-offices/cobb or call the Cobb County Extension Office at 770-528-4070.
• The Master Gardener Volunteers of Cobb County (MGVOCC) Annual Plant Sale and Expo is tentatively scheduled for April 16-17. Visit the MGVOCC website for updates.
The MGVOCC supports the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service and strives to improve the quality of life in our community by delivering research-based horticultural information, educational programs and projects.
MGVOCC and the UGA Cooperative Extension Service present a web series focused on maintaining a healthy garden. The free horticultural education programs are available, via Zoom, the third Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m.
Feb. 16 — Proper Pruning
March 16 — What’s Bugging Your Garden?
April 20 — Common Plant Diseases
Visit www.cobbmastergardeners.com to register and receive Zoom access information.
Provided by Master Gardener Volunteers of Cobb County, which is a part of the University of Georgia Extension in Marietta.