Time to start getting yards, garden ready for spring planting

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Lavonn Guthals of Clovis prunes her rose bushes Thursday afternoon in her backyard. Guthals said that gardening is a hobby she has enjoyed for years.

By Helena Rodriguez: Freedom New Mexico

Local gardeners recommend folks wait until after April 15 to start their spring planting. However, it’s not too early to start getting your yard and gardens ready for the warm weather by fertilizing and watering.

“I never want to plant anything that a freeze will kill until after April 15, and this is because of past weather records,” said Mary Clotfelter, an avid gardener in Portales. “We have had frost up until June.”

Clotfelter, who said she already has jonquils, daffodils, tulips and Dwarf irises blooming in her yard, said she has begun watering her lawn once a week for now and recommends others do the same. “When the weather gets hotter, then you should water about three times a week,” Clotfelter said.

She added, “I water at night because we have so much caliche in the water out on the Arch Highway that if you water in the daytime, it will burn the foliage.”

Billy Reed, an employee at Triangle Ace Hardware store in Clovis, said now is the time to start fertilizing lawns and taking out the weed killers. “This will help lawns become green early and keep the weeds out of it,” he said. He noted that lawns should be damp when fertilizing, but the grass needs to be dry.

“It’s not too early to start watering,” Reed said. “But we do have to watch out for the weather. You don’t want to water when it is going to freeze that night.”

He recommends people start watering two to three days a week once the temperatures hit the 80s and above. As for flower planting, Reed said, “Some of the heartier flowers can be planted now in a sheltered or semi-sheltered area.”

Heartier flowers include roses and bush-type of flowers. As for other flowers, though, Reed recommends people wait another three to four weeks, until after the high-wind season.

He added, “If people want to start their gardens, it may be just a little bit early, unless they have a protective place. Most gardeners should wait a couple of weeks. That will let the ground warm up and the wind will not blow so hard.”

Charles Guthals, who owns a Clovis nursery and landscaping business, recommends pre-emergent herbicides which, better than weed killers, actually kill seeds before they grow into weeds. He also recommends a post-emergent process.

“These need to be on before the seeds sprout, (but) that is the only drawback,” he said. He also noted that lawns respond and fertilize better when they are cool.