As the land bursts into life, now is the time to head outdoors and get your yard ready for the season! Here are my top tips to launch your spring garden successfully:
1. Take Stock: Note what plants were damaged by ice and snow, which beds need to be cleaned out, and which hardscaping elements (fences, benches, sheds, etc) are in need of repair. Make a list of everything that needs addressing now, and a list of things you’re hoping to add (plants, structures, etc) to the garden this year.
2. Address Hardscaping First: The most crucial step in spring garden prep is to make sure all your large structures and fixtures (known as “hardscaping”) are in good condition. Now is the time to repair damaged retaining walls, clean out gutters, fix fences, repair raised beds, and plan for any new areas you plan to add this year. You don’t want to wait until your garden is bursting with life to start trying to repair and replace the foundations.
3. Clean Up!: Once the big structures are out of the way, it is time to clean off that winter grime! Scrub your birdbath, trim your foliage, clean out your plant beds, and treat your soil for any bugs or pests that may have appeared over the winter season. A clean, well-maintained garden is a happy one.
4. Test and Feed Your Soil: Experts recommend that you test your garden soil at least every 3-5 years to determine what it may need or have too much of, BEFORE you start planting your flowers and crops. Then, once you have the results, you can talk to someone at your local garden center about which specific products to use (if any) to get your soil to it’s healthiest state. Earthworms and other garden creatures are also a great aid to help work any organic materials needed down into the soil.
5. Prune Like Crazy: While not everything benefits from a good pruning, spring is a great time to trim down many woody shrubs and trees. Start by removing any branches or limbs that have been broken, damaged, or died over the course of the winter. Then trim back any flowering shrubs which bloom on new wood (or this year’s growth), which include roses and hydrangeas. Flowering shrubs that bloom on old wood (last year’s growth), like azaleas and lilacs, should NOT be trimmed, as it will affects the plants ability to flower.
6. Divide and Transplant Perennials (if needed): In the early spring, you will see any perennials that you have beginning to pop-up, which can give you a good idea of which ones may have outgrown their living space. You can divide and transplant any flowers that would benefit from a little more space to grow.
7. Put Out Supporting Structures: Now is a good time to put trellises and stakes back out into the garden again. Make sure they are still sturdy, apply a fresh coat of paint if needed, and then establish them in the appropriate places around the garden. It is far easier to set up the supporting structures ahead of time, rather than trying to wrangle young, growing plants.
8. Start Planting!: Now you are ready to plant! Always make sure to check your zones for appropriate planting times and last frost, and be prepared to cover your plants in case cold weather comes on unexpectedly. Some cool weather flowers, like pansies and nemesia, can make great plants for garden borders, as they are hardy, beautiful, and can be planted early in the season.
Never hesitate to reach out to us if you’re needing more home care tips, or if you need a referral to a great gardener/landscaper in our area!