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Time is right to tend to lawn, garden

The weather forecast looks like above average temperatures for April. While we all want to get outside and into our gardens we need to proceed with caution. The lawns this time of year are very fragile. In many places the water cannot wick away because the ground is still frozen. Our flower beds are also off limits. They need to drain and warm up for our flowers and vegetables.

There are however many things to be done. A good place to start is the potting bench or the potting shed. If possible, take everything off the bench or out of the shed, sweep and dust well. With a clean slate you can organize your lawn equipment and tools and see what needs to be recycled.

Garden equipment may need attention. Before you know it the lawn mowers, weed whips and rototillers will be in use. Now is the time to make sure they are up to the job. If they need the attention of a professional small engine repair shop, call now and get them an appointment before the rush starts. Give the snow blower the attention it needs. Clean and get it ready for summer storage. While April generally averages three days of snow, it is doubtful you will use it again.

Last fall your garden tools were cleaned of soil, sharpened and given a light coat of household oil. My tools need this attention again before they see action in my garden. The larger tools such as shovels, hoes and rakes also need to be cleaned and sharpened.

Check your garden supplies. Make sure you have the fertilizers you need. With the abundant sunshine your plants will be growing hard and fast. Now is the time to apply the fertilizer. Always check the directions on the package for the correct amount of fertilizer for your plants. Pick up bags of compost and peat moss now so you are ready when it is time to use these products. Mulch for the garden can be purchased while there is a good supply of the type you prefer. If you need it delivered, order it now.

As your lawn dries pick up sticks, branches and rake last fall’s leaves. Repair stone walls, power wash the siding and if the weather cooperates painting is always an option.

All these very necessary tasks will allow you to get to work in the garden when the time is right. That is when the soil is warm, properly dry and the last date for frost is past.

Rebecca Norton Ryan is Penn State Extension Master Gardener and a member of Warren Garden Club.

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