CLEVELAND, April 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With unseasonably warm temperatures across the nation all winter long, early spring looks a bit different this year with lush grass, budding trees and flowers blooming sooner than usual. New growth is a welcome occurrence for lawn and garden enthusiasts, but it also begs the question: should yard care be done differently this year?
According to Troy-Bilt®, a leading manufacturer of outdoor power equipment, the answer is yes.
"It's difficult sometimes to resist the urge to mow the lawn and plant new flowers as soon as the temperatures rise," said Heidi Ketvertis, director of marketing communications for Troy-Bilt. "Warm temperatures earlier in the season can cause many plants and grasses to begin growing sooner, but there's also more time for them to be exposed to damaging freezes, which could still come throughout spring."
Troy-Bilt offers five tips for making sure your lawn and garden are healthy this year:
- Don't plant annuals or fruit- or berry-producing plants early. Annuals and fruit- and berry-producing plants are especially susceptible to being killed off or damaged by frost. If you have these kinds of plants already in the ground, keep them well-watered. If you know the temperature will be dropping dangerously low on a particular night, cover the plants with mesh netting.
- Begin pest and insect control earlier than usual. Cold winter temperatures keep pests and diseases in check, but this year many of those pests and diseases may not have died or gone fully dormant. Also, it's possible the warm winter could have thrown off the life-cycles of various insect species, which may mean the good insects we count on to gobble up the bad insects that harm grasses and gardens were born too early to do the job – so keep an eye out for new problems.
- Protect ornamental bushes and shrubs that are out of their native range. Ornamental bushes and shrubs that are on the border of growing in their climate zone are usually more susceptible to blooming early at the first sign of warmer weather. If they do and there's a freeze, it's likely they'll lose their flowers for the season or produce fewer flowers this year. Protect them by watering well early in the season.
- Begin weed maintenance earlier than usual. Your grass and garden aren't the only things growing sooner this year. Weeds had an early start as well. If you don't get an early start on weeding this year, your lawn or garden may get choked off and not grow as well this season.
- Stay off the lawn, and resist the urge to cut the grass too short too early! A growing lawn is more susceptible to freezing than a dormant lawn. Staying off the lawn keeps the stress down on the grass and helps protect it if the temperature suddenly drops. Also, don't cut more than a third of the blade at a time. If you go lower and a freeze comes along, it could shock the grass and stunt its growth.
Once you're ready to pull your lawn mower out of the shed for the first time this year, take some time to tune it up. If you've used your mower for more than a year, it may be time to sharpen or replace your blades. Also add fresh gas and oil. If your mower needs to be replaced, now is the time to start researching and hitting the stores. Not sure what kind of mower you need? Consider the following choices to find the mower best suited to your needs:
- Walk-behind mower – If you have less than an acre of land or many obstacles in your yard, a reel, push or self-propelled walk-behind mower may make the most sense.
- Lawn tractor – For larger yards that would be difficult to cover on foot, consider a riding mower. Try the Troy-Bilt Horse™ XP Lawn Tractor, which offers a more responsive hydrostatic transmission, a Soft Touch™ steering wheel and high-back seat for added comfort. With a 46-inch side discharge deck, this mower is equipped to handle the largest lawn.
- Zero-turn rider – If you're looking for faster mowing and easy maneuverability, a zero-turn rider may do the trick. A zero-turn radius enables quick turns and trimming.