Down in south Louisiana, we often have winter days where the sun shines bright and the temps climb into the upper 60's and maybe even hits the 70 degree mark! Those days are a gift to gardeners.
But wait, it's still too early for a lot of your favorite spring and summer flowers. So instead we spend time cleaning in preparation for those landscape projects. Here are a few things to keep in mind during those warm winter days.
Clean out your flower beds... Go ahead and pull out the dead annuals and tropicals which the arctic cold has done in. Mix in deteriorated mulch from last year. One of the many benefits to using natural mulch is that it adds organic matter to the soil when it gets old and decays. If you do not have a nice rich fluffy soil to plant new annuals into, then now is a great time to grab some new bags of planting soil to mix into the existing soil. I would then recommend adding mulch now to prevent early season weeds from popping up prior to planting new annuals. When it is that time, just rake the mulch to the side, pop in your plants, and then reposition the mulch.
Tour your yard... Many of the evergreen shrubs will not look their best. Although the term evergreen is used, their leaves are not a permanent fixture on the plant. They will drop off and be replaced every couple of years. So if you see some older spotted foliage on your hawthorns or azaleas, do not worry. It is the new growth that you will need to watch and protect. Now is the time to rake up the older diseased leaves and remove them from your yard. If you have had disease issues in the past, as the new foliage sprouts this spring you will want to look at using a fungicide to prevent the same thing from happening.
A true gardener is never bored, so if the weather permits enjoy a day outside getting ready for SPRING!