Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3 are expected to be beautiful days. Now is the time to prepare the gardens for even more beautiful days in the future. Routine garden maintenance is a great way to get out of the house, enjoy the weather and lift your mood. So, head to Ross Lake with a sharp pair of bypass pruners and your favorite weeding tools. Come when you feel like it.
Even though there is no volunteer time schedule, a logical sequence of work is important to think about. The following tasks are listed by seasonal importance. In other words, these are the things that need to be done at this particular time of the year. They are listed in order of most important to least important.
- Finish pruning the Red Twig Dogwood at the east and west entrances to the trail.The ones at the west end are in the most need of pruning. Start by removing some of the “runners” that grow horizontally along the ground. Then, remove all dead stems. These are easy to spot now. The stems are brown or grey, without buds or leaves. Nothing else on the dogwood should be pruned. They are getting ready to bloom!
- Remove all leaves, grass and weeds underneath shrubs.Clear the area to about one foot past the outer branches, especially around those shrubs that are nearest to the street. Long Branch DPW mows the grass between the curb and the garden. Most maintenance crews like to have a “margin of error” so that the they don’t have to bring their mowers too close to the shrubs.
- Remove any invasive vines or plants growing in the grasses between the path and the lake.They are easy to spot now, but they will be hidden soon.
4. Remove all plants growing in the path.
Butterflies lay their eggs on the dead flower stems in the pollinator garden. They also serve as markers for emerging plants we want to keep. Let’s leave them for now.
If you want to do some digging, some of the grasses need to be replanted at the end of Red Oaks Drive, across the lake. The soil around the roots may have eroded during the winter, exposing the root ball. They are beginning to grow, however, in spite of root exposure.
Please be considerate of any visitors by wearing a face covering.
Practice social distancing while gardening.
The Ross Lake Garden Committee