Spring gardening after historic low temperatures


It’s time once again to start the Master Gardeners weekly gardening articles on the Shawnee News star. We appreciate the opportunity to share some suggestions for gardeners to consider. Remember that when we approach spring, winter is not over yet. I remember a snow storm at the end of the spring break that delayed opening because the parking lots were full of snow and snowfall and frost in mid-April. Keep these options in mind as you begin your spring chores.

Oklahoma State University gardeners warned against pruning shrubs until a little later in March. Because of the severity of the freezing, it is difficult to know how badly these plants were affected.

Some of you may remember that I am suggesting that you prune your Liriope and Mondo grasses so that you have fresh growth that will not be overwhelmed by the growth of the previous year. In some cases, you can mow the grass and keep the setting high enough not to interfere with the roots. You can also use a weed eater or loppers. The end result will be a fresh growth planting with no brown leaves. It is a matter of choice. If you decide to trim, do it early enough to avoid cutting off the new growth and creating blunt ends.

Special reminder: Don’t prune spring-blooming shrubs such as flowering quinces, azaleas and forsythias until after they have bloomed. Also, avoid pruning hydrangeas that bloom on old wood. If you’re pruning hydrangeas, do the job by the end of July.

If you haven’t had a chance to prune your roses in February, plan to do so over the next few weeks to avoid new growth emerging anytime soon. This is a good time to selectively prune deciduous and evergreen shrubs. The Oklahoma State Extension Office has an information sheet called “Pruning Ornamental Trees, Shrubs, and Vines.” The number is HLA-6409. It is available online or from the Extension Office on Acme Road and West MacArthur Streets.

The OSU Multi-County Master Gardeners have a morning of work scheduled for Saturday, March 6th. During this time, workers will prune the ornamental grass bed and butterfly garden, and selectively prune the shrubs around the building. If you’d like to see the results of their work, you can stop by Saturday afternoon or Sunday or later in the week and walk around the grounds for some ideas.

The last few months have been difficult, there has been an ice storm, the snow storm and a lot more. Let’s hope that spring and summer will bring more “normal” weather. If this is not the case, we will have to adjust our efforts.