In Houston Spring frequently creeps up on us. With the hot, cold, hot, cold cycle we can get into, determining exactly when to plant for spring is a difficult decision. To give you a head start, we have consulted our Sal Vaslica, with This Old House Magazine. Some of his best tips are below.
Prune away dead and damaged branches.
Where tree or shrub branches have been damaged by cold and wind, prune back to live stems. Use a handsaw for any larger than ½ inch in diameter. Shaping hedges with hand pruners, rather than electric shears, prevents a thick outer layer of growth that prohibits sunlight and air from reaching the shrub's center. Prune summer-flowering shrubs and wait to prune spring bloomers, like forsythia, until after they flower.
Cut back and divide perennials as needed.
Prune flowering perennials to a height of 4–5 inches and ornamental grasses to 2–3 inches to allow new growth to shoot up. Dig up perennials, such as daylilies and hostas, to thin crowded beds; divide them, leaving at least three stems per clump, and transplant them to fill in sparse areas. Cut back winter-damaged rose canes to 1 inch below the blackened area. A pair of sharp bypass pruners makes a clean cut on both dead and living foliage.
Clean Up Around Plants.
Rake out fallen leaves and dead foliage (which can smother plants and foster disease), pull up spent annuals, and toss in a wheelbarrow with other organic yard waste. Remove existing mulch to set the stage for a new layer once spring planting is done. Now is a good time to spread a pelletized fertilizer tailored to existing plantings on the soil's surface so that spring rains can carry it to the roots. Use pins to fasten drip irrigation lines that have come loose and a square-head shovel to give beds a clean edge and keep turf grass from growing into them.
Neaten Up Hardscape Surfaces.
Rake escaped gravel back into aggregate walkways and patios, and order more gravel to spread in large depressions, which often form near the driveway's apron. Refill joints between flagstones by sweeping in new sand or stone dust; water with a hose to set it, then repeat. Use a pressure washer with a low pressure tip to remove slippery algae spots or leaf stains from patios and walkways.
Dean & Draper
It’s a great feeling to have your lawn and gardens looking good and ready for spring. While you are sprucing up the house, why not get your home owner’s insurance reviewed? We are happy to go over your insurance, check out your coverage, and make sure you’re covered. And we’re only a phone call away, 713.527.0444.
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