February 2016 / Volume 107    

In This Issue

Weather Stats for Gardeners

Soil Temperature 2" below sod:   

40 degrees 


Rainfall total last 30 days:  

0.36 inches

(with wide ranges around the area)


2016 Rainfall total: 

0.36 inches

(with wide ranges around the area)



Donations Keep The Tulsa Master Gardeners Program Going Strong
Recognition of this month's donations:

Barry & Patsy Allen
Phil & Vicki Lamb
Lora Marschall
Sharon Maust
Rhonda Smith
Jill Tenzythoff
DeAnn Tracy

Anonymous (3 Toshiba Laptop PC's for Various Shows and Speaker's Bureau)

Chevron Corporate Donation
The Tulsa Master Gardener Foundation receives no city, state or federal funding for its programs. In fact, the majority of Tulsa's Master Gardener programs are self-funded.

Tulsa Master Gardener's own fundraisers make up most of the income to cover expenses. A significant portion comes from the Tulsa Master Gardener Annual Plant Sale that is held each April. Other fundraisers include the Garden Tour (June) and "Garage Sales" that occur from time to time. Finally, one other income source that sometimes gets overlooked are personal and corporate donations.  These are so important in helping to meet our financial obligations and are very much appreciated. 

You can make an online contribution by going to the Tulsa Master Gardeners website and donate directly through PayPal. For other information on how you can help support all that the Tulsa Master Gardeners do for their community, contact the Tulsa Master Gardeners Office by calling 918-746-3701.  Thank you! 

4 Ways to Contact Us
Email us at:

See our website at: www.tulsamastergardeners.org 

Call: 918-746-3701 from 9-4, Monday - Friday 
Visit us at 4116 E. 15th Street, Gate 6 at the Fairgrounds

Whether you call or bring samples of plants to the office, trained Master Gardeners will answer your gardening questions with science-based information.
Need More

Click on any of the links below:


All about butterfly gardening in Tulsa County 

How to Take a Soil Test

How to collect a good sample of soil from your lawn or garden and get it tested at the OSU lab.
Understanding Your Soil Test Results
Once you have collected your soil test and gotten the results back, now what? Find out here. 
How to Plant a Tree in Oklahoma Soil
Show and tell.
Cool Season Lawn Care (Fescue)
12-month maintenance calendar.
Warm-Season Lawn Care (Bermuda)
Ditto above.
Trees for Tulsa
A list of recommended trees with descriptions.
A list of over 60, by size and color.
Demonstration Garden
Visit our demonstration garden on 
15th Street, open 7 days a week.  
Oklahoma Proven Plants
State horticulturists, nurseries and growers pick favorite plants, shrubs and trees for use in the Oklahoma landscape. See the winners for this year and years past.
Current and historical source of rainfall, air temperatures, soil temps and much more. Click on Bixby station.  

Back Issues  

Past issues of our eNewsletters can be read and downloaded.

Become a Master Gardener

Classes start in September each year. Register at our office on 15th Street for more information.

Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This includes but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services.
February Garden, Lawn, & Landscape Tips

  • Base any plant fertilization on a soil test. For directions, see fact sheet L-249 or contact the OSU Extension Office (918-746-3701).
  • Avoid salting sidewalks for damage can occur to plant material. Use alternative commercial products, sand or kitty litter for traction.
  • Clean up birdhouses before spring tenants arrive during the middle of this month.
  • Provide feed and unfrozen water for your feathered friends.
  • Spray peaches and nectarines with a fungicide for prevention of peach leaf curl before bud swell. (EPP-7319)
  • Choose fruit varieties that have a proven track record for Oklahoma's conditions. Fact Sheet HLA-6222 has a recommended list.
  • Begin planting blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, asparagus and other perennial garden crops later this month.
  • Collect and store graftwood for grafting pecans later this spring.
  • Mid-February is a good time to begin pruning and fertilizing trees and small fruits.
  • Cool-season vegetable transplants can still be started for late spring garden planting.
  • By February 15th, many cool-season vegetables like cabbage, carrots, lettuce, peas and potatoes can be planted. (HLA-6004)
  • A product containing glyphosate or a broadleaf herbicide can be used on dormant bermuda in January or February when temperatures are above 50�F for winter weed control.
  • Fertilize trees, including fruit and nut trees and shrubs, annually. (HLA-6412) 
  • Dormant oil can still be applied to control mites, galls, overwintering aphids, etc. (EPP-7306)
  • Gall-producing insects on oaks, pecans, hackberries, etc. need to be sprayed prior to bud break of foliage.
  • Look for arborvitae aphids on many evergreen shrubs during the warmer days of early spring.
  • Finish pruning shade trees, summer flowering shrubs and hedges. Spring blooming shrubs such as forsythia may be pruned immediately after flowering. Do not top trees or prune just for the sake of pruning. (HLA-6409)
  • Most bare-rooted trees and shrubs should be planted in February or March (HLA-6414).
  • Force spring flowering branches like forsythia, quince, peach, apple and weigela for early bloom indoors.
  • Forced spring bulbs should begin to bloom indoors. Many need 10 to 12 weeks of cold, dark conditions prior to blooming.
  • Feed tulips in early February.
  • Wait to prune roses in March.

Tulsa Master Gardener Program of the Month

Home Builders Association Home & Garden Show

Wondering how to survive another week of winter cabin fever?  Tulsa Master Gardeners are coming to your rescue. Months of planning and preparation come together for a short week in mid-March for the HBA Home and Garden Show.  March 10th through the 13th, MGs will showcase a variety of gardening ideas and research-based information which will help to motivate our visitors to create their own green space.
During the show, thousands of visitors will flock to our 5,000 square-foot center space in 'The Gardens' (lower level of the River Spirit Center on Tulsa's Fairgrounds) to learn gardening techniques and stroll through a multitude of creative pocket gardens.  There is surely something for the adults to appreciate and for the kids to enjoy.  Enjoy the serenity of a Zen space, a quiet quaint cottage garden, and small water garden.  Kick it up a notch in the urban patio and garden party pockets.  Oklahoma Proven, Xeri-scape, prairie, and native wildlife plantings will be displayed.  Experience the gorgeous insect displays, pollinator pockets, as well as making a nature craft with your children.  Many Master Gardeners will be on hand to greet visitors and assist with gardening questions.
For more information on the show please visit the Tulsa Home Builders Association website:


Winter Weed Control in Dormant Bermuda Lawns

February means the Academy Awards are approaching and cold weather has us firmly in her grip.  Now is the time to create your own two act drama in the yard!
By February, our Bermuda grass is fully dormant and we are safe to head outside on a selective and not-so-freezing day to attack weeds with a sprayer!  Trying to win the best actor award, you can search for green weeds in the brown lawn as if they were Easter eggs.
Each green spot located (such as annual chickweed, dwarf fleabane, hop clover and henbit) is awarded with an "Oscar" of glyphosate spray to halt its performance in the lawn.  This act of weed killing does not require perfect aim. If you miss, no Bermuda will die or be harmed because it is fast asleep in its dormancy.
While we don't make any specific recommendations on what to use, some examples of glyphosate spray are Roundup, Roundup Pro, GLYFOS, Kleenup, Finale, and various weed and grass killer formulations.
There are disclaimers!  Please keep reading . . .
* Make sure your Bermuda is dormant. Get down on your knees and look under the canopy for green stems or leaves. 
* NEVER use glyphosate on zoysiagrass, centipedegrass and St. Augustine grass as they never go completely dormant during Oklahoma's unpredictable winters. 
* The efficacy of glyphosate is much greater when temperatures rise above 60 degrees.  So, find a day with temperatures warm enough for the herbicide to be most effective.
Not for sure your Bermuda is dormant?  A 2,4-D preparation may be used.  It is a broad-leaved post-emergent herbicide found as a mix with other herbicides in products such as Weed-B-Gone and many other brands.  It kills only broad-leaved weeds and is safe for all lawn grasses.  It is effective now, but most effective when weeds are actively growing.
Crabgrass (we all hate it!)

Apply a pre-emergence herbicide to control crabgrass in late February before weed seed germination.  Some small-seeded annual broadleaf weeds will also be controlled.  Pre-emergence herbicides must be in place and activated before weed seed germination begins. Activation of pre-emergence herbicides requires 1/2 inch of rainfall or irrigation.  The critical period between application and activation by rainfall or irrigation makes this a tricky project.  But, research shows that pre-emergence crabgrass herbicide applications made in January or February are just as effective as March treatments.  This early timing works because the degradation rate of herbicides is much slower in cold weather versus warm weather.
For information regarding preemergent herbicides, go to the Master Gardener web site, click on "Lawn and Garden Help", then click on "Fertilizer and Pesticide" section, then click on the link under "Herbicides", then look for the table in the "Pre-Emergent Herbicides" section.  For additional information, you can also review and print out the OSU "Bermuda Maintenance Schedule" and/or the "Fescue Maintenance Schedule" in the Turfgrass section. These documents have all the information about when and what to do for lawns and also information as to herbicides and fertilizers to use and when to use them.

Always read and follow all pesticide label instructions.  For more information on general Oklahoma Lawn Management, see OSU Fact Sheet HLA-6420.


Winter Care of Perennials, Shrubs and Trees

February begins with the gardener's landscape trees, shrubs, and perennials continuing to snuggle in their beds for a long winter's nap, protected by a carefully tended and mulched are in the fall.
When native plants have been planted, they survive better in the winter than do tropical or non-native plants.  The gardeners themselves use this time to dream about spring planting, but also spend time in the gardens surveying.  The middle to the end of this month will begin a busy time.

Watering is the most important thing trees, shrubs and perennials need in winter.  Make sure these plants get 1 inch of water per week, but know the watering needs of each plant.  Other key aspects of winter care to consider:
  • Make sure not to overwater!  It could rot the roots.  Proper drainage is important, especially with overwintering mums that are susceptible to root rot.  
  • No fertilizer needs to be added in early February, as this would start an early growth process that could kill new growth on plants with more cold blasts surely to come in late winter/early spring.  Know that most perennials do not even need to be fertilized but once every 2-3 years.  
  • Early February is the best time to get your soil tested at Tulsa Master Gardener office.
  • Apply dormant oils to kill overwintering mites, galls, and aphids in February. 
  • Spray trees, shrubs, and perennials for fungus.
  • The middle to late February is the time to plant bare rooted trees, shrubs, and roses. Remember to plant the bare rooted plants double the circumference of the root ball.
  • Some pruning can begin in late February.  Shade trees, summer flowering shrubs, and hedges can safely be cut to 1/3 of their height.  Keep pruning shears clean to keep from spreading diseases from plant to plant. The landscape gardener needs to remember to prune tree limbs above the collar or above where the trunk and branch meet.  Shrubs need to be top cut, but also hand cut between plants to allow in sunlight.  Do not prune:
    • Early spring flowering shrubs like forsythia and flowering quince
    • Perennials until early spring
    • Roses until the middle of March

Note that pruning at any time will not kill the plant, but may not be the optimal time to do so.

  • OSU recommends fertilizing and pruning fruit and nut trees in late February and March.  A call to Master Gardener's office may help to best determine when to fertilize and trim these trees.
  • Azaleas and evergreens can be fertilized at the end of February with Muracid.  Remember when adding fertilizer to lessen the mulch.
  • Mature trees need little fertilizer and, if grass around it is fertilized, that will probably be enough.  However, do not apply Weed-N-Feed near or around trees as it could be toxic to them. 
  • Start now to do a soil test on each area of your lawn, vegetable garden, and ornamental garden. A soil test would determine how much fertilizer to put around trees, shrubs and perennials. Of the three macro-nutrients that are tested for nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, you will generally have an over generous amount of the second nutrient, phosphorous, so wait and see your results before adding any fertilizers now. Nitrogen is usually the need, but too much fertilizer can do harm. Shrubs need nitrogen fertilizer scratched into the ground around their roots around the middle of February.  Refer to Master Gardener OSU Fact Sheet HLA-6412 on fertilizing trees and shrubs.
A few other tips:
  • Applying a quarter to half inch of compost, any organic matter like shredded leaves or a commercial brand, will guarantee that soil surrounding our plant material has pore space and is not compacted and has compartments for  air, organic matter , nutrients, and water.   
  • It is important to protect the root zones with two to four inches of a mulch layer.  There are a wide variety of mulches to choose from but choosing one that is organic or will eventually break down in the soil is best.  Plastic mulch does nothing for the tilth of the soil.  Keep in mind that if the mulch pieces are too large they will be more apt to wash or blow away here in our Oklahoma weather extremes.  Keep mulch a few inches away from trunks, stems or branching shrubs to prevent insects and disease spread.  Avoid using fabric or plastic weed barriers over root zones.  Mulch improves moisture retention and keeps roots from freezing in winter.  Water when there is no sufficient soaking rain and remember that trees prefer a slow deep soaking and automatic sprinklers don't usually supply enough water.
  • Another threat to roots is a de-icing product with high levels of sodium which will dry out plants even when sufficient water is present.  Look for calcium chloride instead of sodium based de-icers.  Carefully read labels on these products since some sodium replacement chemicals have been shown to severely burn the feet pads of dogs and cats.  If you choose to use salt, mix with an abrasive like sand.  Make sure the product drains away from plants.
  • Care for the crown of trees by pruning out dead branches with no buds present, branches with weak or narrow attachments that form a "V" with the main trunk, and provide good branch spacing or thin out branches to prevent more snow and ice to accumulate and cause breakage.  One good and strong central leader is important in the tree scaffold.
Remember, your February trees, shrubs and plants may look dead above ground, but the roots are active and still growing. 

Lawn Pre-Emergent Timing

Applying a pre-emergent to your lawn is very helpful in Spring for crabgrass control.  It should be applied before crabgrass germinates. Usually, mid-February through mid-March is best. Since crabgrass may continue to germinate into June, a second application made 60 days after the first may be needed. If so, each herbicide label will have proper instructions.

Because weeds have different life cycles and methods of reproduction, they cannot be completely eliminated.  Amazingly, seeds can lay dormant for years before they germinate.  They can survive drought, fire and herbicide applications.  Even if you were to completely clear a property of seeds, they can easily be transported to your property by wind, water, animals or human activity.  So, ask yourself these questions as you work through your weed abatement program:
  • What weeds do you want to control?
  • Is the goal to prevent these weeds, to eradicate them, or both?
  • What is the life cycles of the weeds and when is the proper timing for a pre-emergent herbicide application?
  • What plants are on the property and are the herbicides you're considering safe/labeled for those plants?
To get a better understanding how pre-emergent works, consider these 3 key principles of pre-emergent weed control.

Principle #1:
Pre-emergents control weeds by killing off the weed immediately after germinating.  Most do not have a direct effect on the seeds themselves.  Some, such as dithiopyr, will be effective in killing crabgrass up to the stage of having two leaves, then less effective after that.  Some seeds remain dormant and aren't affected by the pre-emergent herbicide.  This is why weed control is a constant process.  Bear in mind that there will always be seeds under the surface and some will germinate each season.  Pre-emergents are best applied twice yearly, Spring and Fall.  They are safe, do not migrate into the ground water, and have very little adverse effect on turfgrass or other plants. Pre-emergents should not be used on any turf which will be reseeded.  Some of the herbicide effects may last up to 6 months.  The label of each preparation will inform you of the time to wait until reseeding.

Principle #2: 

Pre-emergents come bound to dry particles of either fertilizer or an inert substance such as clay.  They should be applied evenly with a spreader, according to the labeled directions.  After the herbicide has been washed from the particles onto the soil with at least � inch of water, if forms a protective barrier to weed establishment.

Principle #3: 
Pre-emergent herbicide must be watered in.  Watering activates the herbicide and creates a barrier just below the surface.  Most products call for 1/2 inch of water or rain within 21 days after application. If you're working with a non-irrigated area or a drip zone, apply the pre-emergent just before rain is expected.  

Proper Tree Pruning
Why Prune ?  Because proper pruning is essential to the health and beauty of our trees.  Pruning removes broken limbs, dead and or diseased wood, and helps to control shape as well as size over-growth.  You should not prune very young, newly planted trees as it may cause loss of leaves and sun scald.
It has been said that you can prune a tree at any time of the year, which is true.  However, there are certain times of the year that are better than others when pruning should be done.  The much preferred time is after the trees goes dormant and until the time they start re-growth.  That would be . . . now.  Dormancy helps to  reduce the stress of pruning as well as there are fewer insects present that cause damage to the tree at the pruning area.   The worst time to prune is just as new growth starts in the spring and summer.
When pruning trees, you need to have the proper equipment on hand and to make sure the cutting tools are clean and sharp.  A short list of these tools are:

1. Lopping shear
2. Folding saw
3. Bow saw
4. Hand pruner

These tools should be cleaned after each cutting in order not to transfer disease from one tree to others.
In the pruning process it is very important that the cuts be sharp and clean and that the "Collar" (located at the base of the limb at the tree trunk) should not be removed or damaged.  It's better to leave a short stub vs cutting too close to the trunk.  On large limbs, you should make your first cut from under the limb, just below where you will make the second and final cut.  This will keep large limbs from breaking loose and tearing off bark and leaving a bad wound.  It should be noted that "wounds" on trees do not need the use of wound dressings or wrappings as it has been proven to be of little help.  If the cut is made properly, the tree has a miraculous way of healing itself.
For very large trees, you may need to call an Arborist because of the type and size of equipment involved, as well as the danger it can present to those unfamiliar with large tree pruning.
More detailed information is available on our Master Gardener web site and on OSU Fact Sheet HLA-6409.  Page 4 of this fact sheet contains a visual that clearly shows the proper sequence of cuts to make on trees.


Drip Irrigation - Part 1: Planning
(Part 2: Implementation next month)
It is February and we've already seen a few 60 degree days!  My gardening juices are starting to flow.  Planning a drip irrigation system might be a good way to utilize that extra gardening energy this winter

By far, drip irrigation is the most efficient and environmentally friendly watering system.  Water is a non-renewable resource that is so readily available and affordable in the Tulsa area that we tend to undervalue it.  In Oklahoma, 30-40% of household water is used to maintain our home landscapes.  As stewards of the land, it is up to us to make choices that increase efficient water usage.  A drip irrigation system enables us to deliver the precise amount of water needed at the time it is needed which, in turn, provides less 
runoff, evaporation and easier weed control.

Water Requirements Vary

Plants need 1-1/2" of water per week, but can survive drought with half that amount.  Deep, more infrequent watering will encourage deeper, healthier root systems.  Temperature, wind and soil texture will determine how much water to apply. On that note, the Mesonet - Oklahoma's Weather Network - at mesonet.org is an invaluable resource to determine soil temperature and sub-soil moisture content in your area. As a rule of thumb, the deeper the root system, the less supplemental water will be required.  Well established trees require less water than ornamental shrubs and a vegetable garden or flower bed will require less supplemental water than a pot.  Differing water requirements will require separate delivery systems or zones that can be controlled manually or automatically.  Because of this, it may be better to group plants with the same water requirements in adjacent areas.

What Are Your Goals?

When beginning the planning process, determine what you are trying to accomplish. Do I want to avoid having to drag hoses around, or do I want to have a system where I do not have to worry about my landscape when I am out of town or really busy?  The answer to these questions will determine the complexity and expense of the system.  

Plan the Physical Layout

The layout will begin with the location of the outdoor water source; spigot, hose, rain barrel, well, etc.  Determine how many zones will be established and determine the routing of the 1/2" poly tubing for each zone.  At the water source, a back-flow preventer needs to be installed to prevent contaminants being sucked from this system back into the drinking water supply by a sudden change in water pressure.  In order to help prevent clogged emitters, 
install an in-line filter.  If using a good quality municipal water supply, the filter may be as simple as a size 150 mesh screen.  If establishing multiple zones, install control valves to turn water on and off.  These valves may be manual or automated.  A pressure regulator that adjusts pressure to 10-30 psi (depending
on components) needs to be installed in the drip system to adjust for variations in water pressure.  Distribution to individual plants or plantings is provided by 1/4" vinyl tubing attached to the 1/2" poly
tubing.  The zones enable you to control the frequency and length of watering.  The amount of water that is delivered in the specified time is determined by the type and size of emitter placed at the end of the 1/4" vinyl tubing which is at the individual plant or planting.

Check Out Your Options

Once you have a basic design in mind, visit a big box store or go to the internet to familiarize yourself with the many different parts available to build your system.  Next month, we'll provide some
information on the installation of a drip irrigation system.


OSU Extension Fact Sheets: 

E-1038 - A Guide To Saving Water In the Home Landscape
BAE 1511 - Drip Irrigation Systems
HLA-6610 - Simple Irrigation Audit for Home Lawns In Oklahoma


University of Missouri Extension: #G1801, #G6879
Christian County Extension MG (Nixa)
Kansas State University Extension  #1181

Cool Season Vegetable Gardening For The Beginner
On a recent trip to one of those big box stores, I noticed seed packets were already for sale.  I took a few minutes and marveled at the beautiful vegetables pictured on the front of each packet and thought to myself, "That's it!  I want to grow a vegetable garden!"  I have a smallish urban backyard with a couple of shadow producing out buildings and flower gardens around most of them.  No trees and no pets.   I have never planted a vegetable garden, so I went to the OSU Tulsa Master Gardener's website to see what kind of information I could dig up, pun intended.  I found a great resource . . . the OSU Fact Sheet HLA-6004 (Oklahoma Garden Planning Guide) which includes the following topics:

Choosing a Site
Planning a Garden
Gardening Tips
Mistakes to Avoid
Garden Planting Guide (for both Cool and Warm Season Crops)
Common Gardening Problems 

This publication is handy because it covers everything needed to consider: a list of the veggies that grow great in this beautiful area we live in, when to plant, whether to plant from seed or seedling, and how to take care of it all once you've put in the sweat equity.  As a bonus, it also has a list of additional OSU Fact Sheets covering more specific gardening-related topics that provide more detail.
With the help of this publication, you may very well be weeding less, growing more, and planting the right plants at the right time.  For "Oklahoma Proven" varieties, surf the OSU website or call the OSU Extension Office to talk to a Master Gardener (918-746-3701).

Soil Testing Is A Must . . . 
Or Your Lawn May Be A Bust
You probably know that your soil needs certain nutrients to grow properly?  But, did you know that too much of any nutrient is almost as bad as too little?  Did you know the soil pH needs to be within a certain range in order for nutrients to be properly absorbed by plants and grass? 

As it turns out, all plants need 16 nutrients for optimal growth and most are already in your soil. Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K) are the three main nutrients that are needed in the greater quantities.  

The best way to know what your soil needs is to have it tested. Soil tests provide a scientific basis for evaluating the available plant nutrients in homeowner's lawns and gardens.  Properly managing the amount of nutrients that is added to the soil can save money and protect the environment.  OSU's basic soil test measures the pH (the degree of alkalinity or acidity) and the three core nutrients mentioned above.  Samples can be taken to the Tulsa OSU Extension Center which are then sent to the OSU soil lab in Stillwater for analysis. The cost is $10 and generally takes two to three weeks to receive the results of the tests.

To ensure you receive an accurate analysis, be sure to correctly obtain your soil sample.  Obtain 10-15 random sub-samples with a trowel or similar tool from the top 6 inches of the area you want tested.  Fewer samples will result in reduced accuracy.  Perform separate tests on different areas.  For example, do one soil test for the lawn and another soil test for the vegetable garden.  Place the sub-samples from the particular area in a plastic bucket, mix thoroughly by hand, and submit about a pint of this mixture in a clear zip-lock bag to the OSU Extension Office.  Soil samples should be fairly dry and clean of rocks and sticks.  Do not sample an area which has received fertilizer within the past two months as this will give a false reading.

Generally, tests will indicate little to no phosphorus or potassium deficiency.  In fact, most tests around the Tulsa area actually show a large excess of these nutrients.  There are two main reasons for this.  First, many fertilizers have both of these nutrients in addition to nitrogen so they get added right along with the nitrogen whether needed or not.  Secondly, nitrogen is the only nutrient of the three that readily permeates through the ground.  The others bind themselves tightly into soil particles and are very slow to permeate.  As as result, they tend to build up over time.  Thus, soil tests are important not only for knowing what to add, but what not to add. 

Once you receive results, use only the nutrients needed.  Assistance in deciding the best soil amendments, based on soil test results, can be found in the OSU fact sheet titled "Improving Garden Soil Fertility" (HLA-6007).  The best time to conduct soil testing is RIGHT NOW so there is plenty of time to correct for any nutrient deficiencies, based on the test results, before spring arrives and the growing season begins.