As spring approaches, we’re preparing your community landscape for the 2017 growing season. Your overseeded Ryegrass turf is looking great and we are mowing it weekly and applying fertilizer every 6-8 weeks to continue keeping it healthy as we move out of winter. We continue with seasonal pruning, trimming plants to about half their size. This practice is important for promoting natural regrowth and optimum blooming during the spring and summer months. We are cleaning up leaf debris on a daily basis. Having completed pre-emergent herbicide application in December, our spray technicians are keeping an eye on any weed growth due to the December and January rains and treating it as needed. We have shut off your irrigation clocks for the last three weeks and spot watered areas as needed.
Take advantage of the cooler weather
Remember, if you have an established desert adapted landscape, you can keep your irrigation system off until about Easter. The cooler temperatures provide a great opportunity to save money and water!
A typical frost season in the Southwest runs from mid-November through February. The frequency and intensity of a frost can vary during this time of year due to a number of reasons, including elevation and population density. When determining if your plant or tree has frost damage, look for blackish-brown fruit or leaves and shriveled shoots and stems. Once the threat of frost is gone, typically by March, you can begin to trim away the damaged portion of your shrubs and trees to prepare your yard for the new growing season. Check out our tips on recovering your frost-bitten plants below.
Proper shrub pruning
Before you begin to prune your frost-bitten plant, allow for new growth to take place so the damage is clearly defined. Pruning too early can cause you to miss some limbs that are actually dead or remove portions of the plant that may have recovered with warmer temperatures. Do keep in mind, the more severe the frost damage is, the longer it takes for buds to emerge.
Following spring growth, the site along the branch where buds break out marks where the frost damage stopped and live plant tissue exists. You now have two pruning options. If the condition of the plant allows, you can choose to do a light prune and trim just the extremities of the plant. The other option is to hard prune which involves cutting the plant down almost to the base to stimulate all new growth. For a light prune, locate the first bud that is growing and cut just above it, making sure the tissue that is visible from the cut is alive (usually a green color).
Careful pruning and proper cutting helps the plant by directing its growth, relieving later fix-up cuts that weaken the plant. Remember that pruning is tough on plants because it removes leaves that make energy for the plant, forcing the plant to expend energy to heal the wound. Prune only where it is necessary.
Continue reading about more spring landscape tips on the DLC Learning Center.