The weather the past few weeks has been unseasonably warm and dry, causing early budding of plants and trees; as well as early lawn growth. The weather is hard to predict, but some late winter tasks should not be delayed.
Mow the lawn to avoid growing a hay crop by April. Do not fertilize or artifically stimulate the lawn to grow this early. The growth of the grass should slow down if temperatures return to more seasonable temperatures in March.
Moss in the lawn is a widespread problem this winter. Patience is a must! Moss in the lawn must be physically removed, prior to any treatments. Lawn thatching is the most efficient method to remove moss. It is important to wait until April to thatch the lawn. Removal of the moss leaves bare areas that can turn into mud if grass seed does not germinate quickly. Grass seed requires 60 degree fahrenheit temperatures to germinate, so waiting until those first three 60 degree days in April is advised.
Bushes & trees prefer pruning during the dormant season, so February is a good month to take care of these tasks. Most of the potential for a hard freeze has passed, so the risk to your plants is minimized. Remember, never remove more than 30% of any plant or tree.
Fruit trees can also be pruned in February. Pruning should focus on 1) Removing excessive branching in the middle of the tree and 2) Minimize the crossing of branches. If your fruit trees need excessive pruning, take a mult-year approach to your effort. Otherwise you will be left with a non-bearing tree with excessive water shoots.
Groundcovers also need tending and February is a good month to tackle this project. Pruning is fairly easy to accomplish with a power trimmer. If you want to remove the ivy, at least 3 weeding passes will be required. Ivy has an incredible root system, so take your time and grub out as many roots as possible. Leave the bed uncovered for 4-6 weeks and then make a 2nd weeding/grubbing pass. Repeat as many times as necessary to stop the new growth. Then your ready to plant and cover with mulch.
If you have any nursery questions, stop by Road House Nursery (12511 Central Valley Road Northwest, Poulsbo, WA 98370,