With the warm weather one is anxious to get outside even though it is too soon to plant seeds or set plants out. Many other activities can keep us busy though.

Garden tool handles can be painted or blades sharpened including the lawnmower one. Perennial foliage that was not cut back last fall should be done so now. If shrubs are to be pruned, wait until after spring bloomers are over. Shrubs blooming in the summer may be pruned early. Remove dead or diseased twigs or branches. Dip blades into a mild bleach solution after each cut to prevent spreading disease.

Getting the lawn mower ready to use entails cleaning or replacing the spark plug, checking the air filter, cleaning the mower deck, checking all nuts and bolts, and refilling the gas and oil tanks.

Spring is not the best time to sow a new lawn, as grass seed will not germinate unless the temperatures are in the low 60s. Fall is. If you fertilize the lawn, do so lightly with a high nitrogen fertilizer. Too much will encourage top growth which the root system may not be able to sustain. Also leave the grass clippings on the lawn as they add nitrogen and after a day or so will not be seen. A weed and feed product may be a waste of money, as many of the weeds it may control have not emerged yet. It is best to purchase and spread the two separately.

Although we are anxious to get into the garden walking on wet soil or trying to roto-till compacts it and make the soil cloddy. Soil temperatures should be at least 60 degrees two inches below the soil top before planting seeds. Long time wet cold soil may rot planted seeds. Keep empty milk jugs, buckets and other coverings handy to cover plants in case of late frosts.

Clean out a pond if you have one. To just have the noise of running water a pump can be placed into a solid decorative planter filled with water that is close to an electricity source. This can be surrounded with rocks or flowers. The container may have to be filled every day when the weather is hot.

Mulch should be removed from flowerbeds before the plants are very tall. Compost or fertilizer may be side-dressed around the plants and lightly dug in. Keep it away from the plant’s stem. There may be small seedlings of flowers coming up here and there. If not wanted, move them to another spot, give to a friend or destroy them. Do not remove the leaves of blooming bulbs until they turn yellow. The leaves are producing food for next year’s growth and bloom. If perennial plants are up enough, some may be divided or moved.

Weeds should be dealt with when young as they are more easily removed. Keep in mind though the dandelion blooms provide an early food for honeybees.

Finally cut some pussy willow, forsythia or other spring branches and place them in warm water. They will leaf and blossom.

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