Spring tips: for your lawn and garden

In North Carolina, spring brings with it evenings saturated with more daylight, blossoming dogwood trees and for those who like to return to their earthly roots, a wide array of gardening opportunities.

Listed below are a series of tips for which vegetables to grow this season, how to create a combination pot, and creative ways to add new designs to your backyard.

– Lauren Odomirok

• Late winter and early spring is the best time to plant onions, potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, radishes, beets, cauliflower and lettuce. Use peat lite mix or soilless potting mix to avoid diseases that will kill your vegetables.

• April 10 is the generally the last frost date of the year, so any time after that is generally safe to plant annuals. Perennials have to go through a winter season before blooming, so they’re usually planted in the summer.

– Bob Brawley, owner of Brawley Garden Center in Mooresville; 704-663-5553; 982 N. Main St., Mooresville.

• Use plenty of pre-emergent fertilizer on your lawn two to three times in the spring to create a weed barrier that prevents weed growth.

• To create waterscape that includes a pond and plants, buy plants that are indigenous to the area and drought-tolerant. Dwarf varieties are easier to maintain in the long run.

• Ponds need to have between 75 and 80 percent shade coverage to prevent green algae growth. Incorporate water-blooming flowers and lily pads.

• Consider switching to Bermuda grass, as it requires less mowing and fertilization. It’s also heat tolerant and can be planted right before the summer.

– Brandon Morris, owner of Morris Irrigation, Nature and Turf Landscaping Company; 704-896-3009; P.O. Box 2085, Cornelius.

• Create a springtime combination pot by incorporating three different varieties of flowers. This scheme follows a thrill, fill and spill pattern, where the thrill plant is taller than the fill plant, which goes in the middle, and the spill plant spirals over the side of the pot.

• For combination pots, plants don’t all have to flower, but make sure you don’t combine sun-friendly plants with ones that do better in the shade. An example of a thrill is Petunias, while the fill could be Geraniums, and the spill a Creeping Jenny. Mulch the combination pot to hold in moisture and give it a finished look.

• For regular flower planting, use well-drained soils. Since the soil in North Carolina is clayish, add compost or peat moss. Don’t add sand because clay particles clump onto the sand and don’t allow for aeration. After planting, mulch keeps weeds from growing and provides moisture-retention.

– Christy Thornton, member of the Lake Norman Garden Club in Denver. 828-478-9177.

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