Spring chores under the snow | News, Sports, Jobs


Hello, Trumbull County. Well, we are finally catching up with the mild end of 2021 in terms of weather. I have heard of snow totals over 24 inches in the area. That’s enough to get the snowshoes or cross-country skis out to explore some of the trails in Mosquito Creek State Park.

Whatever your favorite winter activity is, I hope you take the time to enjoy it. Before too long it will be gone, and in its place there will be mud.

As a wise man once said, “If you choose not to find joy in the snow, you will have less joy in your life but still the same amount of snow.”

I know the snow will only be here for a few more weeks, so my mind is already gearing up for spring chores. There will be trees to prune, seeds to start, dog poop to pick up, and a million other tasks that will present themselves quickly.

There’s never a good time to pick up dog poop, but there are better times than others for other spring activities. Pruning of trees and other woody perennials should ideally take place after the threat of severe frost, but before the buds open. Obviously, this is entirely dependent on the weather, but generally March and early April are great times to get out your pruners and cut that branch that always hits you in the face while mowing.

Starting from seeds can be a great way to start your garden. Personally, I like to start pumpkins around the house and transplant them to the garden at the end of May. Some pumpkin varieties require a long growing season which we may not naturally have in Trumbull County. By starting these varieties at home, we can extend the season by a month or two.

If you decide to start your seeds indoors, make sure you don’t start too early. Starting too early can result in larger plants that don’t transplant well or plants that get shocked and die from outside temperatures.

Some vegetables, such as beets, cabbage, peas and spinach, can tolerate colder temperatures and are usually planted in mid-April. Tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and beans require warmer soil temperatures and should not be transplanted before May 15. So if you have a little cabin fever, I suggest you start with cool season seeds.

As you pick up sticks this spring, take a good look at your lawn. Last year’s Fall Armyworm invasion may have caused more damage than you think. They feed on the crowns of our cool season grasses such as fescue, bluegrass and ryegrass. As I hung up the Christmas lights in early November, I still saw a few crawling around our back porch.

When lawns green up, if you notice brown spots, you may want to plan to reseed or overseed that area. Applying an insecticide to your lawn in the spring will have no benefit because the damage is already done. This statement also applies to Japanese beetles. If you see any damage from the larvae, they are probably too big to kill with insecticide.

If you don’t know why you have brown spots on your lawn, give me a call and I’ll try to help you diagnose the problem. Fortunately, the Fall Armyworm was a lucky invasion and hopefully won’t return in 2022, although some of these other pests will persist.

Looks like we’re on the downward slope of the latest COVID-19 wave (fingers crossed), so we’re back to more in-person programming. Below are some of our upcoming programs.

On February 16, OSU Extension Trumbull County will host a fertilizer applicator certification program at the center. If you apply fertilizer to 50 acres or more, or just want to learn more about nutrient management, this program will certify you in the state of Ohio.

On February 23, we will launch our Agronomy Webinar Series with Peter Dahl, who will discuss the causes of grain dryer fires, prevention, and how to extinguish such a fire safely, as well as a general overview of fire safety on the farm. This is a free online event.

If you’d like to gain hands-on experience pruning apple trees, join us at Hartford Orchards LLC from 9-11 a.m. on March 5. We’ll start the morning with an overview of the basics of pruning, then head to the orchard to practice pruning.

Then, from 5-8 p.m. on March 16, OSU Extension and Trumbull SWCD will team up to offer a backyard chicken program. Just in time for the little pals to arrive at your local farm shop, we’ll discuss care, health, housing, and other needs to start your backyard flock.

You can find more information about upcoming programs by visiting trumbull.osu.edu, checking out our Facebook page, or subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

Take care of yourself and stay healthy.

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