Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Garden -- February

The number one thing you should be doing right now is pruning hedges and shrubs.
Today is Tu B'Shevat, the Jewish New Year for Trees.
Any day now, you will be seeing buds on hedges, shrubs and trees.  You have to finish up before the end of the month if you live south of the Mason Dixon line.
By the end of the month, the insects will be coming out and the birds will be nesting.
Guess what, the two things are related!
The birds are going to start building nests, mating and brooding just as their food supply comes out of the egg.
Prune now and get out of their way.

The next thing you have to do this month is get your mower blade sharpened.
Paying somebody to mow?
Tell them now that they have to set their blade at 3 inches, no more, no less.
They don't want to do that?
Then you need to buy a mower.
They agree to that?
Now tell them you won't pay them to mow during the summer drought. 
Not twice a week, not once a week.
They don't like that?
You need to buy a mower.
Finally, tell them they have to fertilize according to what kind of grass is in your lawn.
They don't know what kind of grass you have?
Then you need to take a sample to your garden store and ask them what it is.
See Mike McGrath's YBYG archives for where to go from there.
If asking questions makes your lawn service mad, you  don't have a lawn service, you just have somebody trying to make a buck off the fact that you don't know how to take care of your lawn.

For my grass, when the forsythias bloom, I will be putting down cornmeal gluten.
I have to measure how much I put down, so that I don't put down too much nitrogen.
It's state law.
Maryland and Virginia are trying to preserve income from crabbing and sport fishing in the ocean.
They can't do that if homeowners are shoving nitrogen into the water system.
Your lawn fertilizer should have 3 numbers on it: X-zero-zero.
The X is a number showing the amount of nitrogen.  Check your state law to see how much you can put down legally.
The zeroes are for phosphate and potassium.
In the Washington DC metro area, it is illegal for homeowners to use lawn fertilizers with anything but zeroes for those second two numbers.
For the same reason as the nitrogen issue, only more so.

Think globally, act locally.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

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