Happy Spring everyone!
There are a few things you can be doing outside now to gear up for enjoying a beautiful garden later this summer! The days are starting to become nicer and will hopefully stay that way. If you have been feeling house bound these past few weeks, (months!) now is the time to get out into the fresh air and start cleaning up your garden beds. (but just a little bit!)
Clear the clutter:
Throughout the fall and winter, your garden can be exposed to the elements and a collection of broken branches, leaves and leftover weeds can cover your flower beds. Your spring bulbs and plants should be popping out of the ground in the next couple of weeks, so cleaning out the beds will help lessen the chance of stepping on growing plants and damaging them.
Trim trees and bushes:
To prep for spring, trim off any broken or dead branches on shrubs and trees. This will clear the way for new foliage. Any shrubs that flower late June to fall can also be pruned. Some of the included shrubs are Butterfly Bush, Rose of Sharon and summer blooming Spireas as the flowers will bloom on branches that are grown in the current season. Any grasses that were left up for the winter can also be trimmed to within a few inches of the ground. They will begin growing when they are ready.
Once the ground completely thaws you can apply granular fertilizer around shrubs and perennials. This will help your plants get the most out of the soil.
Right before new growth begins (in later spring) is an ideal time to dig and divide most perennial flowers – unless you already did so in late fall. Replant the divided plants and water them well in their new home. The exception to dividing would be early season perennials that are already blooming. These are best divided after they are done blooming or in early fall.
Stake your plants:
Once the plants have started their new growth they should be staked. Staking can be one of the most tedious gardening tasks. It’s tempting to put it off until later, but the sooner you stake, the easier it is on your plants.
Mulch can do many wonderful things for your garden: it conserves water, cools plant roots, feeds the soil and smothers weeds. Wait until the soil warms up and dries out a bit, before replenishing your mulch. Be sure to keep it away from the stems and crowns of your plants to give them a chance to grow.