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We Have The Cure For Spring Fever

By David Yost, Plant Specialist

Spring fever has struck the Washington D.C. metropolitan region.

People are opening doors and windows to breathe fresh air. They’re taking walks on their lunch breaks. And they’re making their way to Merrifield Garden Center for pansies, mulch, seed and fertilizer.

This has been an extremely mild winter with plenty of sunny weekends. Naturally, this has only increased our anticipation and excitement about spring.

Seeing daffodils blooming and robins searching for worms in February and early March stirs our collective consciousness into thinking and feeling that it is already spring.

Who cares if Punxsutawney Phil climbs back into his hole for six more weeks of winter? We’re ready now.

The daffodils, crocus, songbirds and sunshine are wooing us into spring. But the sensible part of our brain reminds us about snowstorms in March and frosts in May, and tells us to suppress the urge to plant flowers. Who should we listen to?

I suggest that you come to Merrifield Garden Center to find the answer. There’s really only one cure for spring fever. And that’s to give in to the urge and start planting.

The mild weather and sunny days have left us with warmer than usual soil temperatures and ideal planting conditions. With soil temperatures in the 50’s, roots are already growing and some seeds will begin germinating soon. But we know that above ground, there will still be some cold days and nights ahead, so whatever we plant must be prepared to withstand the cold.

Fortunately, there are lots of plants that fit into this category.

If you need to seed or repair your lawn, go ahead and do it now. Most of us grow cool season grasses that will easily survive the cold. It’s the hot weather that stresses lawns. Cool weather annuals, such as pansies and primrose, love the cold and can be planted now, but may need to be protected when temperatures dip below 30.

Take advantage of the above-average soil temperatures by getting an early start in the vegetable garden. Plant potatoes, onions, rhubarb and asparagus. Plant seeds of lettuce, spinach, chard, kale, collards, turnips, parsley and cilantro. Plant broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage plants, but have some frost cloth ready to cover them if it gets really cold.

Dormant, ready-to-plant roses are now available. Tree and shrub beds are filling up fast. Hellebores and pansies are in bloom. These are just a few of the many things you can do to get started in your garden.

It’s time for pruning trees, shrubs, evergreens and roses, trimming the old foliage of perennials, weeding, mulching and edging landscape beds.

Although it’s not officially spring, you don’t need to wait any longer. Spring fever is here – and we have the cure!

Posted: 3/6/2012 12:35:06 PM

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