Snow last week. Record 70’s today. High winds tomorrow. What season are we in anyway?
On February 2, the country watched to see if the groundhog saw its shadow. We supposedly then know if we’re in for another six weeks of winter. I heard conflicting reports this year. Some groundhogs called for an early spring while others stared at their shadows. Hmmm. Sounds suspicious.
Rather than using a rodent to predict the weather, I can tell you this much. In Colorado, you can never be sure what’s going to happen tomorrow.
With that knowledge, my approach is to plan for erratic weather changes for the next six weeks. I lovingly call this season “spwinter” because the weather quickly flip flops between spring, summer and winter.
These rapid changes can be tough on your lawn and landscape plants. The warm weather causes the plants to start coming out of winter dormancy, only to be rudely greeted by freezing temperatures heavy snow, and dehydrating winds. The best thing we can do is give our plants what they need to be resilient.
If we can’t predict, plan for the unpredictable. Now we’re getting smart!
So what do plants need to be resilient?
What our lawn and landscape plants really need right now is to be watered. February, March and early April is the time when many of their root systems are becoming active and begin extracting water from the soil. But after a long, dry winter the soil may be completely dry. It’s our job to water so the roots have some moisture.
I’ve talked a lot about this topic over the years. I’ve even made a video about how to winter water your lawn.
I’m encouraging you (maybe even more like begging you) not to put off winter watering. Grab your hose, water your plants, and be sure to disconnect your hose from the spigot once you’re done.
Especially if you’ve experienced high winds recently. Those winds are very dehydrating, which can dry plants out so much they die.
The more warm days we have, the warmer the soil gets. The warmer the soil gets, the more the plants think spring has arrived.
In fact, some plants have started to green up already. I’ve begun working on spring cleanup when the weather has cooperated. Remember the goal is the remove as much of the dead growth without damaging the new growth. It’s easiest to do this while the plant is still mostly dormant before the new growth emerges.
Mulch is one of my favorite gardening subjects. I think of mulching as one of the best-kept secrets to growing beautiful plants. Why? Because it moderates extremes in soil temperature and moisture. And what do we have during spwinter? Moisture and temperature extremes. Mulch is a moderating influence is a land of extremes.
So after you cut back your landscape plants, top of your mulch layer so it’s about 3-4 inches thick. Spring is an excellent time of year to tackle this task.
If you would like to learn more about the magic of mulch, you can read my mulch e-guide.
So as you enjoy the next few weeks of spwinter, try to grab a few moments to water, cut back your plants and top off your mulch. Take advantage of those beautiful warm days. Because you never know when you’ll be stuck inside due to a big snowstorm!