Coastal and Tropical South
Rake that lawn
Use a stiff-tined garden rake, not a fan-shaped leaf rake, to go over your lawn now. Vigorously rake out the brown blades and loosen the thatch now as the grass gets growing again. Mow lawns at the height recommended for your type of turf and let the clippings drop onto the lawn to provide nourishment for it. If purchasing a lawn mower this spring, consider a mulching type for its clever way of recycling lawn clippings into a regular source of nutrition for the grass.
Crabgrass and its friends
Across our regions, the stinkers of summer have begun sprouting. Because they thrive when lawns may be challenged by drought, these lawn weeds can quickly become difficult to control. If you missed the time for pre-emergent control, the sooner you can pull or spray the small weeds, the better. If weeds have taken over areas that are shady or very dry, consider substituting a ground cover for turf in these areas. Now is a good time to plant one.
The winter of 2010 has been rough on palms in some parts of our regions. Now's a fine time to remove dead and badly damaged fronds and to treat the trunks with a copper fungicide to prevent rotting diseases. Spray the entire trunk, with special emphasis on the recently cut spots. All palms can benefit from fertilizer in spring, but don't overdo it. Use a slow release formula that includes micronutrients and has an approximate 3:1:3 ratio of nitrogen/phosphorus/potassium.
Keep pots neat
Container plant grooming is often overlooked, but is essential to keeping plants in shape and in bloom. Take a look at your collection now and take these three steps: 1) check for insects like mealy bugs hiding in the dense foliage 2) mist plant leaves with a soapy water solution followed by a clear water mist to clean the dust off of them and 3) clip off dead, damaged or yellowed leaves and faded flowers.
What to trim now
Pots of holiday cactus are ready to grow again. Take an inch or so off each branch tip to stimulate new growth. You can also root these tips in a bed of damp sand to grow more of the cactus. Foliage plants that have grown too tall or vining ivies that look sparse will have a growth spurt if you trim them now and follow with fertilizer.