April showers bring May flowers. While everyone might know this saying, do you know what flowers bloom in May? Do you know when the best time to plant those flowers is? Do you know the difference between cool weather and warm weather grass? While each region might vary slightly, there are some good rules to follow around planting season. So from grass to garden, here’s our spring planting guide.
Know Your Region
While spring in the Northern Hemisphere might start on March 19th this year, that doesn’t mean spring weather will arrive then. Many areas in the northern states will still be receiving snow and harsh freezing weather until much later in the season. Some seeds are hardy enough to withstand cold snaps and freezes. Other plants will do better starting inside in a pot or waiting to plant them until the likelihood of freeze warnings have passed.
Besides the temperature, there are many weather factors to consider before planting seeds of any kind. Using a long-range weather forecast can help you plan the right time to start digging. Finding the time where you expect rain showers can help your seed growth. It can also cut down on time you spend outside watering. If you do need to water your seeds, be sure to do it early or late in the day. Doing so will avoid the hottest parts of the day where the sun can actually burn wet plants once they start to grow. Try to avoid planting when there are torrential rainfall or thunderstorms predicted, as this can wash away your seeds.
Warm Weather Grass
If you live in the southern states, warm-weather grass is perfect for spring planting. Grasses are commonly categorized into two separate groups, cool weather and warm weather. The two categories are pretty self-explanatory; cool weather grasses grow better in cooler environments, while warm weather grasses grow best in warmer climates. Warm weather grasses include Bermudagrass, St. Augustine grass, Zoysia grass, and Carpetgrass. An excellent time to plant warm weather grass seed is when the temperatures begin to reach 65° F during the day.
Each warm weather grass has it’s advantages and uses in different yards. Bermudagrass is the most common and hardy but does require the most maintenance. This grass is often mixed with others or used in overseeding. Zoysia grass is another hardy grass used frequently in the “Transition Zone.” The Transition Zone covers a large part of middle America where no specific grass type is well adapted for the area. These areas often require planting cool weather grass in the fall and then overseeding warm weather grass in the spring.
It’s always a good idea to aerate your lawn before planting any grass seeds. This process will loosen the soil and provide air pockets that the seed can rest in to ease germination. Keeping the lawn moist, but not oversaturated, should allow you to start seeing results in about two weeks. Using a good quality compost along with avoiding foot traffic on the new seeds can speed up the process as well.
Best Flowers For Spring Planting
Flowers and other blooming plants can add beauty and equity to homes. Several flowers are perfect for spring planting. A good rule of thumb to remember is to plant twice as deep as your bulb. For example, if you have a two-inch bulb, be sure you dig a hole that’s four inches deep.
If you’re south of the Mason-Dixon line, February is generally a good time to plant Annual and Perennial flowers. Just be aware of any frost warnings which might last into March or even early April. If you’re further north, you’ll want to wait another month or two before planting outside. You can start bulbs in pots and then transplant them when the frost is over.
Zinnias, Marigolds, Daisies, and Poppies all fall into these categories. Lilies can provide you with great splashes of color from late spring to early fall and are best planted in the sun or part shade and south-facing. Begonias are another plant that gives vibrant color into the fall. They do require shade and regular feeding to maintain their beauty. Begonias can be just as easily grown in pots or window boxes as they can in the ground.
Take Advantage Of The Season
While flowers can be beautiful, some households are looking to increase the shade in their yards. Birch, dogwood, willow, and magnolia trees are all good to plant in the spring since they take more time to establish. Pine trees or evergreens can be planted in either spring or fall since they never go dormant. The key with all trees is to be sure they are adequately watered throughout the summer months.
There are many more resources online that can help you determine when is the right time to plant things in your area. Urban Farmer breaks down the U.S. into ten separate zones to help you understand spring planting season. Their website lists state planting calendars, and they even have a crop calculator if you’re looking to plant vegetables.
Don’t miss the chance to get your year started right in the spring. The grass might not be growing yet, but there are still plenty of landscaping opportunities.