While yards in southern California haven’t been buried under feet of snow all winter, the plants in them still feel the effects of lengthened days, slowly-warming temperatures, and increasing rainfall.   As spring approaches, prepare your yard for that burst of new growth of flora (and fauna) that spring can bring.

 

Healthy Roots:  February is the perfect time to fertilize and amend your soil.   This will leave your soil full of nutrients for your plants’ first good spring meal.   Use a soil test kit or consult a local gardening store for the best fertilizers for your needs.

 

A Strong Stem:  David Ross, Senior Manager of the Walter Anderson Nursery in Poway, notes that there is no set schedule for lawn aeration, but if you haven’t done it for a while (say, in the past two to three years), early spring is an ideal time to loosen that soil and prime the area for new growth.   Now is also the time to head off weed problems with a pre-emergent weed killer.

 

Spry Shoots:  While it’s too soon to increase watering times, it is a good idea to check automated sprinkler schedules, especially with the increase in rainfall.   Make sure palms and lawns aren’t getting too much water, but be sure not to neglect potted plants which will still need regular doses.

 

Lush Leaves:  Be on the lookout for the arrival of pests!  Watch for aphids and hose them off promptly.   Ross recommends using a horticultural oil spray on plants as well.

 

Full Flowers:  Now is the time to prune.   Cut back perennials, grasses, and roses now; trim shrubs and spring-flowering trees when they are ready for new growth.

Sweet Fruit:  Though the weather may be warming already, don’t be too eager to plant those summer vegetables – it’s still too early.   In fact, there is still time to plant another round of leafy greens and root vegetables.   “February is a great time to plant citrus,” added Ross.   “It’s too late to plan bare-root fruit trees, but it’s the very beginning of the citrus tree season.”  Not a lot of room?  Try a “fruit salad” tree which can grow as many as five different varieties of citrus on one tree.   Then, sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor!