NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

April 2, 2014

Tim's Tips: Waking up the yard after winter

The heavy rains of this past weekend really made the snow piles shrink in size. For the first time in a long time, we could actually see the lawn in our backyard.

Once the ground dries out a bit, you should begin to remove the winter mulch that you put around your plants. At this point in time, you want to remove about one-third to one-half of the mulch. This will allow the ground to slowly warm up.

In another week or so, you can remove the rest of the winter mulch. If you wish to spruce up the mulch in your flower beds and/or around your shrubs, wait a bit so that the soil has a chance to warm up a bit. A new layer of mulch now will insulate the soil and slow down the warming process that your plants need to wake up from their long winter’s nap.

As your tulip bulbs begin to grow, their flower buds will be a source of interest to squirrels and rabbits. Each year, we get customers who come into the store and tell us about the flower buds being eaten off the top of the tulips. The flower buds are lying on the ground.

In many cases, it is the squirrels that are doing the damage. They appear to be interested in the sugary water that oozes out of the stem when the bud is chewed off the flower stalk. To prevent this from happening, you should spray your emerging tulip flower stalks with an animal repellent.

As the stalk grows, you will need to do repeat applications to keep the squirrels at bay. The foliage of the tulips and crocus can be a spring treat for the rabbits. The new leaf growth should be sprayed, too.

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