Winter is here, but it's time to start getting ready for spring. It may be still too early to start planting, but if you have garden fever there are a few things you can do.
The most important thing is to get the leaves up. Rake them, mow and vacuum them or blow them off. It doesn't matter how you get rid of them, just get them off the lawn! If leaves stay on the grass for a few weeks and get thick enough to totally block out he light, they will kill the grass.
Next, tend to your garden tools. You put them up for the winter. Now is the time to get them out, clean, sharpen and lubricate. You'll be ready for gardening season the minute the soil is warm enough to plant.
Go ahead and prune woody plants while they are dormant. This includes fruit trees and summer-blooming shrubs & vines. Select the strongest & most vigorous branches to remain. Prune out diseased and weak branches. Just remember, it's getting too late to prune spring bloomers.
Cut back Liriope and any remaining perennials to stimulate spring growth. Deadhead pansies to encourage blooming. It's also time to replenish or replace mulch around trees, shrubs & in bed areas. A minimum depth of 3" to 4" will help protect them from cold weather.
Add a handful of lime to Crape Myrtles to prevent powdery mildew. Save your fireplace ashes! Use them as a fertilizer for your Iris and other alkaline soil plants.
If you are an avid gardener, it's time to start seeds of cool season vegetables and flowers and repot houseplants as they outgrow current pots. If you see roots when you look at the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot, chances are it's time to transplant.
At the end of this month (approximately when Forsythia is in bloom), apply crabgrass preventer with fertilizer to lawn. We will be doing this soon for our valued customers. We are also applying dormant oils this time of year. This will coat certain insects and smother them. Scale is one such insect. They have a hard coating on them similar to a turtle shell. The scale is a very small white powdery looking critter. If you lift up the leaves of euonymus and look on the bottom, you may see hundreds of them so thick that all you see is a white flaky powder. Their protective coating protects them from spraying regular insecticide on them through the year. Dormant oil applied when the shrubs are "dormant" will smother the insect without killing the plant.
February is a great time to think about the birds. In addition to keeping the feeders full, you can attract them to your yard and garden next spring by building a birdhouse now.
It's also time to start looking at plants that you think you might want for this year. Before you know it, it will be time to start planting new plants, soon to be followed by annuals and perennials. Sketchyou're your garden plans, including what to grow, spacing, arrangement and number of plants needed.
At this time of year I receive an influx of calls for dog training as many people have brought a new dog into their home. Some call right away while others wait till they have experienced negative behaviors or issues with their new dog.
This begs the question… When is the best time to reach out to a dog trainer? The answer is simple… before you bring the dog home! In fact before you even choose a dog is best.
A good dog trainer can help you decide which breed or more importantly, what temperament and energy level would best fit you, your family and your lifestyle. A good dog trainer can give you tips to help make the transition of the new arrival go smoothly and help you to establish leadership skills immediately especially if there are already other pets in your home. They can advise you on how to introduce your new dog to the dog(s) you already have. This is vital to minimize possible battles for pack ranking.
A good dog trainer will teach you that introducing your new dog slowly to their surroundings and limiting their access to one or two rooms initially (instead of whoo hoo! Free rein) then gradually expanding the rooms they have access to will help the new arrival feel safe and comforted.
Bringing a new dog home is an exciting time for you and your family, however keeping it calm and low key for the first week or two is advised. Think of how you might feel in a totally new and strange environment… Would you want it to be crazy with new people you didn't know clamoring around you, touching you and talking to you in a foreign language? Or would you prefer that the transition was calm, quiet and relaxed giving you time to adjust and take it all in? Think about it.
Terie Hansen is the Owner of Good Dog! Coaching & Pet Care
For more information visit www.gooddogcoaching.com
Owner at Good Dog! Coaching & Pet Care
Professional Dog Training & Pet Sitting Services