By Bev Johnson

Master Gardener

These tips are from the University.  You need to adjust according to our weather. Minneapolis is in zone 4 A.  We are zone 4B or 3A. The difference is about 5 degrees.

Plant strawberry and any other catalog ordered fruit plants as soon as you can.

Prune out any 3-year-old raspberry canes.  Any canes that set fruit last summer can be pruned out and down to the ground. Burn or bag canes. They don’t compost well and may harbor disease. While you are down there, pull any weeds.

Water any plant that didn’t get an inch of rain every week.

If you haven’t reseeded dead lawn patches, do it now. It will be too late if the temperatures rise. Apply crabgrass killer as soon as the daffodils show color. Reapply just when the lilac buds show color. The soil will be just the right temperature for killing crabgrass. Do water any preemergence in as it doesn’t become active in dry soil.

Don’t rake until the soil is relatively dry. You do more damage than good. If you have a lawn mower with a grass catcher, set the blades high and vacuum the grass. This will lift the grass leaves and remove some dead thatch, small twigs and any debris our four-legged friends have hauled in during the winter. Mix this with leaves for free mulch.

If your grass is high enough to cut, cut it long. Long blades promote more root mass development and actually slows some weed seed germination. Weed seeds often wait for light signals to prompt germination. If they are kept in the dark by long grass, they won’t germinate.  Lawn grasses shoot extension rate is the greatest now because of flower production. And yes, grass does flower, that is why you are sneezing your hair off. Do water the grass if we don’t get good rains, 1 inch a week. The grass is experiencing a flush of growth. That lush growth is stockpiling the carbohydrate supply the lawn will need to get through the summer dormancy. Those trails in the grass are from voles. Just rake them.

Broad leaf weed control can be started as soon as the air temperatures are consistently above 60 degrees. Water after application. They won’t die from herbicide if they are under drought-stress.

Don’t prune trees while leaves are forming and expanding as the trees are putting their energy into leaf and wood production. However, you can remove dead branches at any time. Prune birches and maples after they have fully leafed out, about late June or early July. You can prune oaks in July but don’t prune honey locust until late August or early September to reduce the threat of nectria canker.

Wait to plant any store-bought bedding plants or vegetables until the weather is stabilized. Harden them off before you plant them the same way you do with plants you started. Do this gradually over roughly 2 weeks.

If you need to fertilize spring blooming bulbs, do it while the foliage is still green and growing. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER remove or braid or bunch up daffodil leaves or cut off tulip leaves. They need to stay green to recharge the bulb for next year. Instead, plant a tall annual in front of the offending plant. Deadhead faded flowers and seed heads.  Going to seed takes energy needed for next year.

Wait for warm weather before you plant vine crops. Started plants will be about 10 days ahead of direct seeded ones. Tomatoes and peppers are semi tropical plants. They need warm soil to prevent stunting. Sit on it,if your cheeks don’t get cold, plant your tomatoes and peppers.