OKC Beautiful: Winter chores mean better spring garden

OKC Beautiful column for Jan. 11.
Published: January 11, 2014

Last month, OKC Beautiful provided you with some important advice from Loretta Aaron on what to do in these dreary winter months to make your spring garden better. The most important thing to remember is always to water, water, water when it's dry outside, even though it's cold. Here are a few more winter tips from Loretta:

• Apply gypsum

Now is a good time to apply gypsum to areas of the lawn that have had high traffic. Grass has packed down and root systems cannot survive. Use a minimum of 20 to 30 pounds per 100 square feet. There is no fertilizer in gypsum; it is just a soil conditioner, and a very good one to break down tight clay soils. If you are preparing a vegetable plot in tight soil, work in the gypsum now, and by planting time you will notice the difference.

• Dead head and top dress your perennials

Perennial plants are now dormant. Remove the old top foliage, and top dress with about 2 inches of composted cattle manure to give some protection to the plant. Manure is an ideal soil conditioner. The nitrogen content is only 2 percent, so there is no need to fear that it will stimulate new growth. The reward next spring will be sturdy, healthy plants and more blooms.

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