VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Spring has arrived, and it’s time for gardeners and landscapers to get ready. Outdoor living expert P. Allen Smith joins the number one selling brand of handheld outdoor power equipment in America*, STIHL, to help you prepare your garden for a beautiful spring.
* After the spring thaw, wait until the ground dries to start working in your flower and vegetable beds. Squeeze a clump of dirt in your hand to test the moisture level; if it breaks apart when you open your hand, it’s dry enough to work.
* It’s important to get edgers, trimmers, brushcutters and other landscaping power tools ready for the growing season. Replace the spark plugs, clean the air filters, refresh gas and oil, and sharpen or replace blades, and check instruction manuals for other recommended maintenance.
* Set up an outdoor thermometer and a rain gauge. Keep a journal of the weather and when plants start to bloom.
* Check your compost pile. Turn it every two weeks, and keep it moist but not wet.
* Clean water features and fountains. Make sure pumps and lights are working properly. Remove leaf guards.
* April weather can be fickle, so resist the urge to plant warm-season annuals and vegetables until the last frost date has passed in your area.
* Spring frosts can zap emerging foliage, but the plant will rebound. Remove the wilted leaves, but wait to do any pruning on woody perennials, shrubs and trees until new growth emerges later in spring. To decide where to make the cut, scratch stems to check for green tissue beneath the bark. When it’s time to make the cut, use the right equipment. Thinner branches can be pruned with shears or loppers. For thicker branches, try use pruning or arboriculture saws from the STIHL Precision Series™. STIHL has a tool for every branch size.
* Save a spot for fall bulb planting. If you’re planting a new flowerbed and know you’ll want to add some spring-flowering bulbs in fall, here is an easy way to hold a place for them in the border. Amid the spring plants, dig holes where you’ll want to later plant the bulbs. For mass flower plantings, use the STIHL BT 45 planting auger. Make sure the holes are large enough to accommodate a good size plastic nursery pot with drainage holes. Put the pots in the holes, and then refill the pots with the dug soil. In the fall, lift the pots, place the bulbs in the bottom of the holes and dump the soil over them.
* Sow the seeds of summer annuals such as cosmos, celosia, sunflowers and globe amaranth. These can be sown directly in the garden after the last frost date has passed and the soil has warmed.
* Enclose your vegetable garden with a rabbit-proof fence. A 30-inch tall chicken wire fence will keep rabbits out of your garden. To keep them from digging under the fence, bury the wire about one foot deep and bend the top of the wire outward about a foot, so they can’t hop over. When working with wire, be careful to protect your hands from scratches with STIHL HomeScaper Series™ Gloves.
* Before planting in clay pots, pre-soak them in water for 5 or 10 minutes. If you plant in terracotta when it’s dry, it wicks moisture from the soil and the new plantings.
About P. Allen Smith
Smith is the author of the best-selling Garden Home book series and is considered one of the foremost gardening and outdoor living experts in the country. In addition to his own nationally-syndicated television series on commercial networks, P. Allen Smith Gardens, he also hosts P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home on public television and is a frequent guest on the TODAY Show. Smith has received several national awards for helping to educate and inspire the American public about the joys of gardening.
About STIHL Inc.
STIHL Inc. manufactures the number one selling brand of gasoline-powered handheld outdoor power equipment in America for homeowners and professional landscapers, as well as the number one selling brand of chain saws in the world. STIHL products are sold through servicing power equipment retailers from coast to coast— not mass merchants.