We are getting ready for spring in Utica, NY
Spring is in the air. The geese are back – the skunks are coming out of hibernation, even a few robins are scrounging around the yard for tidbits to eat. As the snow melts the remnants of last years perennial garden appear.
Our first instinct is to get out there and clean all the dead leaves and debris off the plants. It seems only natural to think that exposing the plants to that beautiful warm sun would encourage growth and stimulate them to blossom early. Unfortunately, in zone 4, which is much of Central NY, we get teased with a few warm days, but winter temperatures can re-appear several times before spring is really here. If the perennials are encouraged to start growing prematurely, the new shoots could be vulnerable to freezing temperatures which can cause new growth to become damaged.
Even though it’s already spring, there has been snow in the forecast. When the weather breaks again, why not just pick up the sticks, rake up the sand and debris near the street, and change the oil in your mower and tiller. Leave the perennials covered until the daffodils are 3-4″ tall. By then the temperatures are warmer and more stable and the plants are naturally awakened to start their growing season.