NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

March 20, 2013

Tim's Tips: Sharpen garden tools for spring

Tim's Tips
Tim Lamprey

---- — Winter just doesn’t want to let go. I guess spring will come eventually. While you are waiting for the snow to melt, take time to get your gardening tools and equipment ready for spring.

You should have a sharp blade on your lawn mower. If you haven’t replaced the blade on your mower in several years, now is a good time to do so. You can put on a new blade if you follow the instructions in the mowers’ owner’s manual. If you don’t want to do it yourself, schedule a time to have your mower go in for service. An oil change and tune-up isn’t a bad idea either.

The hand pruners and loping shears also need to be sharp if they are going to do a proper job. Sharpening tools on a regular basis is easy to do and it will make pruning chores much easier. We sell sharpening tools at the store. Check your shovels too. A hand-held file will put a sharp edge on the shovel, which will make digging holes so much easier.

If the snow is off the garden and the ground is thawed, put some pea seed down. Peas are one of the first seeds that you can plant in your garden. They prefer the cool temperatures of early spring. Peas don’t like the warm summer weather. If you plant peas too late, the oncoming summer heat will ruin your crop. However, peas can also be planted in late summer to give you a nice fall crop.

As spring approaches, and new growth begins to appear on your trees, the winter moth caterpillar will hatch and eat the leaves. If you remember seeing moths flying around the windows after dark in December, then you will probably have a problem with this caterpillar. The moths mate in early winter and lay eggs on your trees.

The eggs hatch out as soon as leaves appear in spring. They attack our flowering cherry tree each spring. An application of horticultural oil now will kill many of the eggs. As soon as the leaves appear in spring, an application of Bt will kill the caterpillars before they can do a lot of damage.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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Tim Lamprey is the owner of Harbor Garden Center on Route 1 in Salisbury. His website is www.Harborgardens.com. Do you have questions for Tim? Send them to ndn@newburyportnews.com, and he will answer them in upcoming columns.