For the past several years, one of the most important blog topics we have touched on has dealt with the dry fall and winter seasons experienced in Kansas City. Indeed, dry falls and winters wreak havoc on many plants – especially evergreens, and up until the winter of 2018/2019, Kansas City has had its share. Thankfully, the present winter has had plenty of moisture (some would say too much in the form of snow!) and for the first time in many seasons, our lawns and landscapes will have ample reserves when spring arrives.
Rules for Spring Gardening
Ground moisture is almost always a good thing, and we certainly welcome it. Having ready moisture allows newly planted trees and shrubs to thrive, and gives evergreens the ability to maintain growth even if the surrounding soil is frozen. But as spring approaches, we offer just a few reminders to gardeners itching to get busy in their yards.
Don’t Work in Wet Soil
First and foremost, resist the urge to work in soil that is wet; because our soils in Kansas City are basically clay-based, working in them, digging in them, or just walking through them disturbs the soil structure, forces oxygen out of the soil, and eventually causes them to be like concrete when dry.
Don’t Mulch Too Early
Second, many people like to mulch their beds first thing in the spring, just to make them look better; again, it may be best to procrastinate on this chore. While we usually advise against this practice because new, thick mulch layers prevent spring rains from reaching root systems, we also recommend waiting until the soil warms enough to allow growth. Otherwise, mulch can insulate the cold soil and slow its warming as spring arrives.
Look for Water Issues in Your Landscape
Take the opportunity to examine your lawn as we have excess moisture – be on the lookout for low areas that may hold water, or areas that never seem to completely dry out. It may be necessary to address such areas with drainage improving tactics like French drains, additional soil, or improvement of soil structure. If you haven’t core aerated your lawn in some time, this spring may be an excellent time to do so since the extra soil moisture will make coring quite effective.
Let’s be thankful for the abundant moisture, but careful to follow wise gardening practices as we get back into our yards!