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Keep tender Easter plants indoors till mid-May to avoid frost.
Keep tender Easter plants indoors till mid-May to avoid frost. (istock.com)
Posted: April 19, 2014

Check plants for frost heaving. Extreme changes in winter temperatures, with freezing followed

by thawing and freezing again, often cause woody and herbaceous plants to rise up several inches out of the ground. Take a good look to see where this might have occurred. As roots become exposed, they can dry out and need your immediate attention.

Because this mostly happens with smaller plants, it's as simple as pressing the roots down with your hands, making sure to go all around the base of the plant. Check that roots are covered with soil and the base of the plant is even with the surrounding ground.

Offer your lawn a boost. April is

one of the best times to rejuvenate an established lawn. To fill bare patches, use commercially available grass seed, selecting for sun or shade. Apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer to encourage growth as the lawn revives from winter dormancy and later to fortify it over the summer months. If you crave a bright-green, showpiece lawn without weeds, you'll be spending more

money on fertilizer, weed killers, and water, and dedicating many weekend hours, to achieve perfection. You can still have a decent lawn by mowing regularly and watering only in severe droughts, letting the lawn fend for itself. It will save you time and energy and be more environmentally friendly as well.

Give special care to Easter plants. If you're seeking just the right gift

for a gardener or you just want to add some seasonal color to your own surroundings, select pansies, primroses, lilies, hydrangeas, or azaleas. If you're the one on the receiving end, check to see whether the plants are double-potted in decorative, watertight containers or baskets. If so, after watering, remove any excess water that collects in the bottom to prevent roots from rotting. Keep tender plants indoors at least until mid-May to avoid frost damage.


Patricia Schrieber is director of education for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) ( www.phsonline.org), and co-owner of Valentine Gardens ( www.valentine-gardens.com).

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