Spring Maintenance for Austin Landscapes
Now that spring has nearly sprung, it's time to celebrate your garden's potential for the coming year. If you have plants that suffered freeze damage, you mustered your self restraint and left them in place, trusting in their spring dividends. This tolerance for a less-than-perfect picture of your yard allowed the magic to build in the branches and roots while they got their beauty sleep; when the warmth returns you'll be rewarded with new growth and then you can trim away whatever didn't make it. Dormant beds love having their soil turned, and a good rule of thumb in spring is a two-fold process: prep then plant. Feeding your spring garden is like a protein shake before a work out, so prepare the soil before asking it to perform and you can enjoy a show-stopping season.
Late February usually heralds the end of overnight freezes in central Texas, so removing winter annuals and cutting plants down to any new growth is appropriate. In March, you can weed, take fallen oak leaves and mix them into your mulch, and throw down some phosphorous after the first bloom. How to source phosphorous? There's a wealth of options at your local nursery but our phavorite option is compost! Wood ash, egg shells, bone meal and banana peels are high in phosphorous which creates strong root systems, making it a great supplement for spring. The easiest option would be banana peel tea: water and a couple chopped banana peels in an airtight container for five or six days yields a nutrient rich tea that can be added directly to the soil.
But how does one know if the soil needs phosphorous? What if it's actually nitrogen or potassium deficient? Nurseries sell testing kits to better understand the balance of your subterranean chemistry, but if you're looking to flex your armchair gardening expertise a good eyeballing would give you an idea of how to balance your fertilizer. Supplements come in a standard ratio of Nitrogen(N) : Phosphorous(P) : Potassium(K) and this [ultra] basic guide can help diagnose your soil's needs if you're between gardeners.
Flowering and fruiting: 1-2-2
All-purpose for plants and veggies: 1-1-1
Stronger root systems: 1-2-1
Lush leaves: 3-1-1
Now is also the time to plant veggies and sensitive perennials. By April, you're clear to throw summer seeds and dead-head spent blossoms. If your plants are looking leggy, trim back a third of their branch length to encourage denser blooms in summer. This is by far the loveliest time to be in the garden, so grab your gloves and dive in!
Not sure where to start? Connect with a local landscaper to launch your new year/new garden approach. You can have your soil tested, diagnosed and get back to your spring fantasy tout de suite.
If you fancy a fresh take on your landscape, OES offers design and build services from a project as simple as a planting plan on up to a complex, large-scale full-property design. Click on the CONTACT link above to schedule a consultation with one of our designers.