Ok, everybody just stay calm. Yes, the weather is warm. Yes, the trees are in bud swell. The bulbs are up, some are blooming, weedy grasses are greening, a few pines are beginning to candle, the pussy willows are pussying, bees are buzzing…
Of course, the wind is blowing, we’re setting record high temps, and snow is predicted for Tuesday. In short, it’s springtime on the Front Range.
There’s nothing we can do about it, but there are things we should NOT do because of this.
1) Water your trees, but not in the evening. We still have rollercoaster temps that take us from warm to frozen in the blink of an eye, and if water is on the surface of the soil, that freezing could damage roots severely. Water during the warmest part of the day.
2) Don’t remove the mulch from around your perennials. Though they may be pushing growth up above it, their crown is still not hardened off; that tender growth could be killed by one cold snap.
3) If you have grapes, back away from the pruners. Just walk away. Pruning grapes is a stimulus for growth, and if that bud breaks your chances for a good fruit crop this year are in the hands of Mother Nature. Since she’s feeling fickle this spring, those buds could freeze off. Oh, sure, they’ll try again – after all, grapes have a three-in-one bud that will try and try again – but with each bud break the amount of fruit you get bottoms out.
4) Keep your hands off the sprinkler system. The ground is not as warm as you think, and turning on your system just risks getting a frozen pipe.
If you must get out and garden, here are a few things you can do:
Apply pre-emergent weed killer to your lawn, if it needs it. Corn Gluten is an excellent, organic way to keep those weed seeds from sprouting, but if you use it, remember that it fertilizes a little too, so reduce the amount of nitrogen you put on next month.
Spray dormant oil on trees and shrubs with aphid or scale problems. Some of the woodies are plagued by aphids, such as ash, plum, honeysuckle or roses. Aphids – a small, soft bodied sap sucker which can curl leave and make gardeners crazy – lay their eggs up against the leaf bud for the winter. Smother those youngsters with oil now, before the eggs hatch.
Prune fruit trees and other trees.