Ready or not, spring is here

Ready or not, spring is here. While we almost certainly will have another freeze, and possibly even some snow, for the most part, winter is over, spring is here and plants are either already blooming or soon will be.If you haven’t already done so, any yard equipment that you use that needs maintenance, such as an oil change in that expensive lawnmower, needs to be done now. It’s especially important to get any mechanical work that needs done taken care of promptly. You would be amazed how fast the repair shops fill up with weedeaters, blowers, lawnmowers, rototillers, and etc. at this time of year. When the yard care season is going full blast, it can easily become a six week wait for non-commercial equipment repair at the local repair shop. How these shops can expect someone to wait that long for repairs is beyond me, but nevertheless, it happens every summer.Something else that I like to stress at this time of year is that if you are a do it yourselfer, and are planning to indulge in some planting this year, get your plants as early as possible. The reason that I like to point this out is that plants are sold pretty much on a first come, first serve basis. In the early part of the season, growers and nurseries have good inventories of the plants that you want and there is a lot of variety to choose from. As the season progresses, those big selections become picked over and while later you may still be able to find good plants, the very best ones are gone. Starting earlier than your neighbors helps assure that the best plants go home with you instead of somebody else.If you aren’t a do it yourselfer and you are going to want some landscaping done this year, the sooner you get that arranged the better. Just as the lawnmower shops are soon going to fill up with broken equipment and the best plants are going to go to the early shoppers, the same thing is going to happen with landscapers. While the first of March is the traditional start of the “landscaping season”, the reality is that the best landscapers have been booking jobs for quite some time. Waiting until later in the year to start looking for people to do your work may end up with you having to get the people that are available versus hiring the ones that you actually wanted.If you plan on having a yard service do the maintenance and mowing in your yard, the same thing applies to these people as to the landscapers. While often the maintenance company and your landscaping contractor are one and the same, that is not always the case and the good dependable mowing companies stay just as booked up as the good landscapers. Both kinds of companies are definitely examples of “the early bird getting the worm”.If you have large evergreen shrubs (such as ligustrums, chinese photinia, or hollies) that need to be aggressively cut back, now or in the next couple weeks will probably be a good time to take care of that. As I have written in previous articles, the best time to do that is between the first flush of spring growth and the last freeze. A difficult target to hit in the Big Country, but the chances are very good that we are past our last killing freeze and spring growth is just getting under way. Remember; don’t prune the spring blooming plants such as indian hawthorns, quince, or redbud right now or you will take off this year’s color.As always, the earlier you can start on some kind of weed control program, the better. If you are going to do it yourself, get your pre-emergent down, take a look at what weeds you already have growing in the yard and consider how you are going to handle them. It is a lot easier to deal with weeds in the early stages of seeding or growth than it is to try and get them out of your yard later after they have overrun the whole property. A prime example of this is the grassburs. It is a lot easier to handle grassburs by putting down correctly timed pre-emergent than it is to try and get them out of the yard after they have established themselves and re-seeded (get rid of the grassburs, your dog will thank you).In short, ready or not, spring is here and along with all the blooming and growing comes the regular mowing and maintenance. Prepared or not, this work needs to be done, wouldn’t it be better to be ready?The next KWKC Green Team workshop titled Annuals and Perennials will be held at 2 P.M. Saturday, March 26th at Willow Creek Gardens, 1820 South Treadaway, in Abilene. If you have any landscaping, landscape maintenance, or tree questions you would like answered in this column, submit them care of or KWKC Green Team is made up of Bruce Kreitler (Broken Willow Tree Service 325 675 6794 or Adam Andrews (Willow Creek Gardens 325 676 3616) and Stephen Myers (Steele Myers Landscaping 325 673 7478). Catch them on KWKC 1340 Saturdays at noon.