March, 2012
Regional Report

Handle Your Garden Hose Carefully

Grip the hose, not the wand or nozzle or coupling, when uncoiling or moving a hose. Before watering, uncoil the hose to its full length and twist to remove the kinks. Start watering at the open end; straighten hose while working your way back to the spigot. Start at the spigot end to recoil or rewind the hose.

Repair, Repaint, Replace Trellises and Fences

The weather's great for being outdoors. Walk around your property with fresh eyes. Are there fences or trellises you'd rather not see that need to be replaced or repainted? Or broken sections that could benefit from TLC? Now's the time!

Clip Off Dead Hydrangea Flowers

Whether lacecap or mophead, it's best to clip off dead flowerheads on hydrangeas. Prune by clipping just above the first plump, green bud below the dead flower. It's also good to prune away dead stalks. Dead stalks snap when they break, are often shriveled, are tan or brown inside, and have no green buds. Live branches are pliable, bend rather than break, and have live green or green-white tissue inside.

Focus on One Goal At A Time

It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the debris removal, dead branch pruning, deadheading, raking, repairing, planting, etc. needed in spring gardens and lawns. One thing often leads to another. To feel a sense of accomplishment, choose one task to complete or one garden area to concentrate on. Focus on finishing that project to your satisfaction in a comfortable time frame before starting something else. For example, today I had about an hour for yard work. I chose the back and side yards. I clipped off dead hydrangea flowers and coreopsis stems, pulled out dead chives, removed dead leaves from coral bells in containers. Yes, there's more to do -- tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow....

Start Spring Gardening in Moderation

Gardening IS exercise. For those of us who haven't been so active through winter, it's good to pace ourselves. Gently stretch arms, legs, and back before digging into garden chores. Take frequent breaks. Start out with an hour or two of work. Stretch again when muscles get tight. Stop gardening before your body says NO MORE TODAY, PLEASE.

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