By Pat Maurer
After a long, bitterly cold and snowy winter, no wonder people are getting excited as the thermometer climbs up into spring again.
Even if the weather is still a bit chilly most days, it’s almost time to start thinking about sprucing up your outdoor space so you can enjoy those warm summer months, now just a few weeks away.
Spring lawns and garden spaces require extra care following chilly winter temperatures and dormant growth. It is a critical time to take the steps towards establishing a beautiful summer lawn and a successful garden. And it isn’t too early to start planning for some spring and summer flowers to brighten up your space.
Remember spring is a crucial time to fertilize. It replenishes your yard and can make for a bountiful garden harvest later on. Fertilization, weed and pest control combined with proper mowing will stop problems before they start and keep your lawn looking its best.
You can make that work even easier with the right equipment for the job.
Elm Creek Manager Daniel Jenkins announced, “This year we will be carrying lawn equipment including chainsaws, weed eaters, and more. We are also adding hardware supplies.”
For your lawn, weed control means you should apply a pre-emergent weed killer on lawns to prevent grassy weeds from germinating. Spring broadleaf weeds like dandelions, clovers and plantains, are best prevented by maintaining a proper mowing height and fertilization. After a mild winter, annual weeds that germinate in the fall, like henbit and chickweed, will be more visible and require higher levels of broadleaf weed control through herbicides.
Once you’ve got the grass growing well again, it will be time to start mowing. Contrary to popular belief, setting your mower at a very low height can actually increase weeds by exposing the soil surface to sunlight and removing stored nutrients in leaf blades. Cool weather grasses, such as bluegrass, ryegrass and fescues, should maintain a height of 2.5 to 3.5 inches. Warm season grasses, like bermuda, zoysia, St. Augustine and centipede, should be kept at 1.5 to 2.5 inches tall.
It’s also time to think about those flower gardens around the house. To spring clean and get ready for blooms, the first task is removing and composting any dead annual plants that remained over winter. These will not return and any self-seeders will already have done their job.
If you didn’t prune back your perennials last fall, they’re probably looking pretty ugly as spring sets in. Many perennials actually prefer to be left standing throughout the winter, for extra protection. But by definition, herbaceous perennials will die back to the ground during winter. If you did leave your perennials standing last fall, once you start to see new growth at the base of the plants, it’s safe to begin removing winter mulch and pruning them down to ground level.
Jenkins also said, “Elm Creek doesn’t want to forget the departments that have always been our staple point for business. Our annual and perennial selection will be as big, or bigger than previous years. The lawn and garden department has been redesigned and setup for easier shopping, and we are bringing in a larger selection of fruit trees for the 2014 year.”
Owner Janice Jenkins said vegetable, herb and organic gardening has come back strong in this area. “To prepare a new garden, a few steps are important. They include soil testing, grass removal and fertilizing, which will prepare the area to grow a beautiful garden.” She said Elm Creek can help with soil testing and if you are planning to new garden, give them a call.
Once the lawn, garden and flowers are ready again, it will be time to celebrate. Elm creek has also added a line of Weber charcoal grills in an assortment of sizes and designs, plus all the accessories needed for that first summer cookout!
Elm Creek is located northwest of Farwell at 2609 West Surrey Road and open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Their phone number is 989-588-6061. Jenkins added, “On May 2nd and May 3rd we will be having our annual Spring Celebration with large selections and great deals.”
Just in time to welcome spring back to mid-Michigan again.