Three gardening chores to prepare for spring

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Prepare for spring by diving into late-winter chores in the garden.

Water-garden maintenance

Remove leaf litter from a pond, especially if you have fish. Decomposing leaves can have an adverse effect on water quality. Turn off the pump to make it easier to collect the leaves. While removing the leaves, you can also scoop out algae that may have formed. When you're finished removing the leaves, turn the pump back on.

If weeds have sprouted in the path that surrounds the water feature, remove them by hoeing or pulling. Never use herbicides near a pond, especially if it contains fish, because nearly all herbicides are toxic to fish. They may also destroy aquatic plants in and around the pond.

Wait to remove or transplant overgrown or misplaced plants in or around the pond until the temperatures are warmer. Late winter is not an ideal time to transplant herbaceous plants, and the water may be too cold or even frozen to work in.

Ornamental grasses

Late winter is the ideal time to cut back ornamental grasses. Although it can be fairly easy to cut back grasses with a pair of pruners, loppers or shears, you can also secure the top growth with a bungee cord or piece of twine and cut grasses back with electric or gas powered hedge trimmers. This method can be particularly useful on cutting back large sized grasses.

Vine pruning

Late winter is a good time to prune runaway vines because you can visibly see where the vines are growing and remove them from nearby plants. If you wait until spring has sprung and the leaves are already on the trees and shrubs, you may miss an overgrown vine that could potentially be choking nearby plants.


Did You Know...

Using a clothes line instead of a dryer will save a lot of energy. It's difficult to find hard numbers, but the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star website indicates the average family does about 300 loads of laundry per year. Pacific Gas and Electric's website estimates that it costs about $.33-$.56 per load for gas dryers and about $.12-$.15 per load for electric dryers. Based on these numbers, hanging clothes on a clothes line will save you about $40-$45 per year if you own an electric dryer and about $100-$170 per year if you own a gas dryer.

-- Rebecca Matulka,

Home Selling Tip

When preparing for a showing, pay attention to details! Little things mean a lot in the big picture because they pull the house's look together. Things like small, colorful ceramic tiles placed into brick steps to carry through a color scheme. Edging the lawn. Large planters. Finally, don't forget to tidy up. Curb appeal also means a place that looks neat and clean, the kind of place you'd like to live.


GateHouse News Service