It's not spring yet, so don't get ahead of yourself outdoors

2012-02-19T00:00:00Z 2012-06-11T09:48:03Z It's not spring yet, so don't get ahead of yourself outdoorsBY TAYLOR REICH • Special to the Post-Dispatch stltoday.com

Q • Because it's been a mild winter, should I start my spring yard work earlier this year?

Because of the more mild temperatures this season, we've seen our customers taking on projects they normally couldn't do this time of year. While the warmer weather may motivate you to get outside and work on your home and yard, you have to be careful not to get too far ahead in case we do get another winter storm.

However, getting started on your yard cleanup can put you one step ahead of the game when the weather does break. Just make sure that green thumb stays in check.

Cleaning up the remnants of fall leaves, dead foliage and sticks is always a good idea, regardless of the weather. However, I would limit the cleanup and spring preparations to cosmetic items. Leave your rose bushes and other dormant bushes until Mother Nature gives us the all-clear.

One thing that can be done by mid-March is putting down a pre-emergent herbicide on your lawn. Pre-emergents work by sterilizing a weed's seed before it germinates. It is important to know the type of grass you have before selecting a pre-emergent, as some pre-emergents can prevent new grass seeds from germinating.

To get the best results, apply pre-emergents after the ground temperature reaches a consistent 50 degrees.

A great source of regional gardening and planting information, garden ideas and deals is the Home Depot Garden Club (homedepotgardenclub.com), which includes region-specific information as well as more than 200 how-to videos from garden experts. Also, most home improvement stores and garden centers offer free workshops to teach customers how to do projects around the yard. The Home Depot has lawn maintenance and landscape design workshops every Saturday in March.

Taylor Reich is the store manager for the Sunset Hills Home Depot store.

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