Gardeners have plenty to do

Now that we are enjoying beautiful spring weather, gardeners have many claims on their time and energy. Here are reminders of some likely tasks to take care of soon:

? Start mowing as soon as your lawn needs cutting. Be sure to set the mower blade as high as possible. Taller grass stays healthier and shades out weeds that might try to compete. In addition, a scalped lawn just does not look good.

? Pinch back the buds or blooms of annuals and some perennials in order to spur more flower development and keep plants stocky, not straggly. A general rule says to pinch back chrysanthemum buds until the Fourth of July. Sedum plants can certainly be pinched back a time or two to keep them from flopping over later.

? Enjoy tulips and daffodils while they are fresh and colorful. When the flower heads start to look wilted and untidy, snap them off. However, leave the foliage in place to feed the bulbs for next year?s bloom. Don?t remove foliage until it has yellowed. One exception:

if you have some tulips that have deteriorated in size noticeably, dig them up now and toss them on the compost pile.

? In areas with perennial ground covers such as ajuga and low-growing sedums, weed now before the desirable plants have reached their full growth for the year. The weeds will be much easier to spot, as well as easier to pull, in the next week or so than later in the season.

? Even though everyone is thinking about the plants out in the garden, this is an ideal time to repot house plants. Temperatures are mild. No harm will come to your house plants as you take them outside, remove them from their pots and inspect to see if they are pot-bound, with the roots filling the pot. For pot-bound plants, select a new pot one size up. Even if the same pot is fine for a given plant, fresh potting soil will give the plant a boost. Make sure to put a bit of screen material or broken crockery in the bottom of each pot to keep potting soil from washing away, and do invest in top-quality potting soil.