Early Spring Garden Tasks

Here in Corvallis, Oregon, at the foothills of the coastal mountain range and opening into the mid-Willamette Valley, the local growing conditions in February and March may seem like a fifth season beyond the usual four – giving us an early spring.

Early spring in western Oregon is a highly variable season – we could be dry enough to need irrigation; wet enough to be flooding; sunny and warm; or slogging through snow – but it is a season with its own unique tasks, and a season of opportunities that disappear right around the beginning of “official” spring in late March.

In the Garden

  • Plant peas as early as possible, even start as early as late January. Pre-sprout seed inside for better results.
  • Planting onion starts from “bunches” (only available this time of year).  Bunches give you a head start on onion development, just as if you seeded them yourself last summer.
  • Transplant hardy spring crops: leaf crops, artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and more.
  • Start your own transplants inside from seed: peppers take about 10-11 weeks to be transplant ready; tomatoes about 6-7 weeks.

In the Orchard

  • Prune fruit trees, berries, and grapes.
  • Last chance to dormant spray fruit trees – spray with copper to control fungal and bacterial diseases, or with spray oil to control mites and aphids.  Stop spraying when flower buds begin to show color. Learn more about copper sprays and when to apply HERE.
  • Fertilize blueberries and cane berries in March.
  • Bare root planting time is in February and early March when you’ll find the best fruit tree and berry plant value and selection of the year. Browse our selection online HERE.

In the Lawn and Landscape

  • Lime and fertilize lawn; using organic or other slow release fertilizers will limit how much mowing you need to do in the wetter part of spring.
  • Plant lawn from seed starting mid March.
  • Weed control or prevention, before they get the upper hand.  Herbicides containing glyphosate, and for broadleaf weeds in lawns products containing carfentrazone, are effective in low temperatures.  Hand weeding is an effective option, and pre-emergent herbicides such as trifluralin (Treflan, Preen) or Dimension can stop seed from germinating.  Bark or compost mulches are also useful for weed control.
  • Prune shrubs now that bloom heavily from new growth, such as roses or spiraea.  Do not prune spring blooming shrubs like camellias, rhododendrons, or forsythia, until they have finished blooming.

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