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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of January 30, 2017

Winter Weather Impacts on Your Driveway & Yard

The weather in Massachusetts looks to be seasonable this week, with lows in the mid-teens. There is no snow in the forecast, giving our backs a break from shoveling. And during the days, the temperatures will sneak above freezing. Here are some things to think about that relate to your yard and home with regards to the forecast:

  • Day temperatures above freezing this week will cause the snow banks you created when you shoveled your paths in your yard to melt, then re-freeze at night. So be extra careful, and make sure you have enough materials to melt the ice where you walk, and/or spread some sand for traction. Some town highway departments have free sand for residents.
  • You likely have a path cleared of snow and ice from your front door to your car. But what if you have to chase after your puppy who runs to the backyard while still being trained to obey?  Massachusetts nurseryman, Ed Bemis, wishes he had spread some sand in a path on his lawn last winter to avoid a bad fall while doing just that. Sand won’t injure lawns like ice-melting chemicals. Click here for more info.
  • You might suspect that ice-melting chemicals can injure plant roots. But most damage actually comes from the spray from traveling vehicles that splash onto the leaves and needles, particularly of evergreens. No need to worry when you plant salt-tolerant plants, like these beach roses, in areas of your yard that are less than 15 feet from the road. Use our store locator to find a local pro to make suggestions that are just right for you.
  • Cold nights and above freezing days unleash one of the first harbingers of spring: maple syrup production. Here’s why sap flows.
  • Tapping a sugar maple will not harm a healthy tree. You will only collect about 10 percent of the tree’s sugar stores, from which it easily recovers. How much sap does it take to produce a gallon of syrup? 40 gallons!
  • If you need some instant spring, and decide to purchase potted daffodils, chose plants with many flower buds, and just a few open flowers. They will open very quickly once in your home, and will last longer if you keep then cool.
  • Want to smell spring? Pick up a potted hyacinth. Only one flower can fill the room with fragrance. If you potted some for forcing using our fall tips, now is the time to take them from storage
    begin growing them.

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