It’s warmer out, but use restraint so you don’t compact your garden soil
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

We had a bit of warm sunshine this weekend and it was wonderful to do some outside chores. My husband raked the autumn leaves off the front lawn and I yanked a few early weeds from garden beds near a sidewalk.

But there still isn’t a lot you can do in your garden yet, said Teresa Buchanan, general manager at Lockwood’s Greenhouses, 4484 Clark St., Hamburg.

“I would tell people to use care in their gardens right now,” Buchanan said. “The ground is still thawing and wet. It would be easy to damage the soil structure and cause compaction– not a good thing.”

When the soil is compacted, it won’t drain well. Plus, compacted soil makes it more difficult for roots to penetrate. Walking around in your garden can cause compaction, so if you want to pull weeds, try to stay on the sidewalk or on pathways.

One thing you can do now is check to see if any of your plants are heaving out of the ground.

“I think I’ve seen the most heaving of plants I can remember,” Buchanan said. “Some will not make it because the exposed part of the root ball could have frozen above the soil line. It may be worth trying to push it back into the ground if it is not too late.”

Heaving tends to affect plants that were just planted in the last couple years, she noted. Check out some tips for proper planting that should help your plants better survive the winter.

Don’t try to plant things in your garden yet.

“We just need to be patient until the soil dries enough that it can be worked,” Buchanan said.

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