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Spring Garden Calendar

by Dr. Q, Star Nursery Staff Horticulturist

Spring is in the air and it’s time to get outdoors. Enjoy the beauty of the desert. Below you’ll find a checklist of items to address this season. If you should have any questions, visit your local Star Nursery Garden Center and speak with an associate. We’ll be happy to guide you in the right direction.

Reset sprinkler clocks to match requirements of the Southern Nevada Watering Authority Drought Watering Restrictions Guide if drought conditions are in effect. Get a copy from any Star Nursery. Inspect your irrigation system for correct water delivery to all plants.

Fertilize your trees and shrubs. Your plants are stirring and will benefit from a feeding of balanced or complete fertilizer like 15-15-15. An organic-based fertilizer like Dr. Q’s® Tree, Shrub & Vine Food will condition your soil while getting the plants ready for rough weather ahead. For legumes, fertilize with little to no nitrogen. These will require more phosphorus and potassium. Dr. Q’s® Desert Plant and Cactus Food is a good choice. Flowering plants should not be given lower amounts of nitrogen since more phosphorus enhances the quantity and quality of blooms. Dr. Q’s® Rose & Flower Food is a good choice here.

Feed desert plants and cacti with Dr. Q’s® Desert Plant and Cactus Food to greatly improve spring flowering and promote vigorous growth in the coming months.

Survey your yard. Clean up debris, tune your irrigation system, and replace parts as necessary. Fertilize lawns with a complete spring fertilizer like Dr. Q’s Straight Flush (16-8-8), Royal Flush (16-4-8) or Turf Supreme® (16-6-8). Consider replacements for unattractive, ugly, non-productive or diseased plants.

Thin fruit on trees when it’s the size of peas. You’ll have better fruit and protect the tree from breakage due to overproduction.

Overseed existing lawns or plant new lawns. See StarNote 800, Planting a New Lawn from Seed, and StarNote 810, Fertilizing and Maintaining Your Lawn for details. If you recently used a pre-emergent weed preventer, you will need to wait before seeding. When overseeding existing lawns, make an application of Dr. Q’s® Sod & Seed Starter, and cover seeds with a light mulch like Top Dressing or Steer Manure immediately after seeding, to get your new grass off to a quick, healthy start.

Aphids, Leaf Hoppers, and Cabbage Loopers. These are major pests on vegetables, bedding plants, and grapes. There are many chemical and organic insecticides that provide effective control. Bayer and Ortho make a variety of effective and reasonably safe insecticide products. For the organic gardener, pick off by hand, wash off with the hose, use Safer Brand Insecticidal Soap, Bacillus Thuringensis (Bio Worm Killer or Thuricide), Neem Oil, or beneficial insects like Lady Bugs or Praying Mantis.

Plant tomato starts. An early start ensures a good crop since most varieties won’t set fruit in the heat of summer. Plant different types for a continuous supply since harvest dates vary. Some good choices are Early Girl, Patio, Cherry, Champion, and Celebrity. Heat tolerant varieties like Heatwave or Hawaiian continue to produce well into the summer and can be planted through April with excellent results.

Prepare herb gardens in containers or the yard. See StarNote 215, Growing Herbs in the Desert, for a selection of popular varieties successfully grown here. To reduce and control insects, try Cedar Mulch. This will provide control without pesticides.

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