Spring is quickly approaching and it is an exciting time to start preparing for the upcoming season. As you may or may not know, central Ohio had a record amount of snow fall in February. Not only does this put a lot of stress on your landscape, but it may add a little stress to you as well. In order to make an easy transition from winter to spring, here are some steps to insure your lawn and plants are ready.
The biggest thing to do right now is simply take some time to look over and evaluate your lawn and landscape. Because we had extended periods of low temperatures and excessive amounts of snow covering our landscapes, homeowners may start to notice damage to their turf and plants as the snow starts to melt away. One such damage that may be noticeable to lawns may come in the form of snow mold.
Snow Mold is a fungal disease that can be caused by excess snow and ice build up on grass, which appears as circular, straw colored patches in your lawn. Cultural controls are the best option for lawn recovery if such damaged occurs. This can be done by raking injured areas with a hard rake or a leaf rake. This not only helps promote air circulation, but will help allow sunlight to penetrate down into the canopy and encourage new growth in the spring. If the damage is severe, seeding or sodding may become an option.
Although snow mold is a fungal disease, fungicides are not recommended are a curative approach. Fungicides can be costly and your grass may recover with natural, cultural practices as the weather changes. Preventatively applying a fungicide application in the early winter season will save you headaches as well as reduce your lawns’ probability of developing this disease. If you’re not sure of what is wrong with your lawn, calling a professional is recommended.
As you walk around your property, you may start to notice that your lawn was not the only thing that incurred damaged from the harsh winter. Shrubs and trees may also have been injured from the excess snow. As snow accumulates without time to melt, plants may droop or fall over and branches may break from the heavy weight of the snow. Broken and damaged branches should be pruned to help speed up the recovery process. This will also help prevent diseases and insects from attacking your plants later. Even though you may have a broken branch in the middle of your shrub or an unsightly looking plant now, it may recover as the growing season returns. So don’t fret yet. If you’re unsure of what to prune or you’re not sure how to prune a particular plant, call a landscape professional. Also, it is not recommended to try and prune broken branches high in trees. You may injure yourself or someone around you. You should call a professional arborist to assess your situation.
If you have assessed your plants and lawn closely without any noticeable damage, then you are one of the few! In that rare case, making sure your plants and lawn are prepared is the next thing to do. Apply a fertilizer with a pre-emergent herbicide to your lawn to help control crabgrass and other unwanted weeds. March 15 – April 15 are the approximate dates for pre-emergent herbicide applications in central Ohio. You want to make sure the herbicide moves to the zone of weed seed germination, which is accomplished by rainfall or irrigation. Weeds not only take away necessary nutrients and water but they deter you from having a healthy lawn. It is almost impossible and naturally undesirable to have 100% weed control, but preventative treatments go a long way to having a healthy, visually aesthetic lawn in the spring.
Your plants and trees need nutrients as well. Fertilizer is not plant food. Plants use water, carbon dioxide, elements from fertilizer, and energy from the sun to produce their own food. Synthetic (manufactured) and natural (sometimes incorrectly called organic) fertilizers provide nutrients for plant growth. A balanced fertilizer applied in the spring will help encourage new growth and have your landscape healthy and ready for the upcoming season.
First impressions of you or your business begins before anyone sets one foot inside of your door. The quality of your landscape, or lack thereof, will set the tone and opinion of you based upon outside appearances. This is simply human nature. If your home or office appears neat and well maintained, visitors will make an initial assessment that you are a person that takes pride in his or her home or business. Personal opinions might even translate into that you are a successful person and hard-working from this first outdoor impression.
Studies have shown that morale increases in office environments where the outward appearances look attractive, implying pride and success. An unkempt and dingy outside appearance could actually turn away potential customers and highly motivated workers.
Have a landscape design professional evaluate your home or office. Many times simple landscape maintenance techniques will spring new life into an existing landscape. At times, however, some minor changes in plant placement or the removal of an overgrown shrub or tree with be necessary to give a home or office an updated and appealing new look.
Landscapes that have some age, and especially those that have not received proper maintenance over the years may require complete landscape renovation. If you find yourself in this predicament, this is a great opportunity to hire a competent landscape design professional to make the absolute best that your structure and site have to offer. Be the envy of your community with that all important first impression!