Too-da-loo, Weeds and Weathered Plants!

In the words of Mrs. Doubtfire, my apartment currently has a “fleeing one’s homeland” motif. As I type this blog, several men are replacing all of the windows in my apartment, as well as the balcony doors. And everything that once resided within a 3- to 5-foot radius of said windows and doors is now piled on the couch.

On the bright side, my roommate and I were forced to clear off our balcony, which contained an assortment of dead plants from the previous summer. After months of ignoring the 3-foot-tall weeds sprouting out of several planters, there I was yesterday morning, grunting as I dumped pot after pot of soil into a trash bag. Unfortunately, by the time I was finished, the bag weighed approximately 30 pounds and was punctured by several errant branches I’d also managed to shove inside of it. 

Unwilling to leave a Hansel and Gretel soil trail through the living room, I had to abandon any plans to properly dispose of the trash. Instead, in what I like to call the Soil Drop of 2014, I lifted the bag with all my might, did my best Miss Trunchbull impression and hurled it over my balcony and onto a cushion of snow below.

I expect to receive a fine in the next five to seven business days.

On the bright side, I got a nice head start on my spring landscaping!

In the February issue of units Magazine, Chris Lee, Executive Vice President of Dallas-based Earthworks, encourages communities to use these winter months to better position the landscape for a big entrance when spring arrives.

Lee says the best way to control weeds is to control them before they can be seen. I did not heed this advice—but for those you who don’t have a Jack and the Beanstalk situation on your hands, Lee suggests apply a pre-emergent now, and then following with a post-emergent application closer to spring to keep dandelions and other weeds at bay. Also, applying a slow-release fertilizer will give the landscape the right amount of nutrients at the right time.

Additionally, winter is a good time to prune trees because they are less stressed and most fungal diseases aren’t overly active. Lee says pruning gives trees a clean, fresh start on the season and promotes even growth. When trimming deciduous trees, keep in mind that some limbs may need to be pruned even though they aren’t sagging. Otherwise, the limbs likely will sag when new growth buds out.

Some pre-spring cleaning may also be in order to cull winter damage incurred by plants, grasses, shrubs and neglectful 20-somethings who aren’t responsible enough to care for living things. Before new growth begins, Lee says the dead matter needs to be trimmed. Depending on the plant, the entire top may be removed to enable new growth. 

So grab a trash bag and get busy.

For more, check out “Make Sure the Grass is Always Greener” in the February issue of units Magazine, which mailed Feb. 8.

Lauren Boston is NAA’s Staff Writer and Manager of Public Relations. Unsurprisingly, she writes a lot—most often for units Magazine and as a weekly blogger for APTly Spoken. She enjoys making people laugh, sharing embarrassing childhood stories and being the (self-proclaimed) Voice of the Apartment Industry. She welcomes feedback, unless it’s negative (in which case, please keep it to yourself).