Spring Landscape Activity Timeline

Home Grown  by Keith Reed
Last week we talked about some important dates related to weed control. If this is an important topic to you, even if you hire the work done professionally, go back and take a look at that article if you missed it. It helps explain why timing is so important to successful control.

Timing is also important with other landscape tasks. Here are some of the most commonly asked spring questions that come into the Payne County Extension office. For topics not mentioned here, OSU Fact Sheet HLA-6408 Landscape Maintenance Schedule (
PDF/Mobile) is a nice reference document to have on hand for general landscape tips.

Dormant oil is a product that is used to control insects that can overwinter on the plant, scale being the most common example. Dormant oil can be applied now any day the weather is above 40 degrees. It cannot be used after plants break bud or damage will occur. Note: Dormant oil is never safe to use once the leaves have opened up or on evergreen plants.

If your fruit trees rarely produce a successful crop, you may want to consider doing some preventative spraying to help prevent disease. For the best chance of success, this begins with an early copper or sulfur based spray in February. Follow-up applications may then be needed throughout the growing season depending on the crop and weather conditions.

Soil test now if you have a problem area. Our office regularly analyzes soils that have pH problems. Soil pH either too low or too high (both are possibilities in Payne County) will cause poor plant performance even if other maintenance practices are done correctly. Fortunately, soil pH can be corrected once diagnosed, but it is a slow process, sometimes taking several months. Getting started now can help insure a successful growing season this year.

Wait until first signs of green-up for spring pruning of deciduous shrubs/shrub-like plants such as roses and crapemyrtles.

Ornamental grasses and grass-like plants such as liriope should be cut back a little earlier, say the mid to latter part of February. The key point on these plants is to cut them back before this year’s leaves begin to elongate. If you cut the new growing tips off, the plant will look ragged all season long.

For more information on this or any other horticultural topic, you can contact Keith Reed, the Horticulturist in the Payne County Extension office. Keith can be reached via email at
keith.reed@okstate.edu, phone at 405-747-8320, or in person at the Payne County Extension office, located at 315 W. 6th in Stillwater.

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