Although we’re still a few weeks away from the warmer weather and the gorgeous spring blooms we yearn for, now is the perfect time to start planning for the season ahead. After months of neglecting your landscape, you might be wondering, ‘how do I prepare my garden for spring?’ With our handy list of spring garden chores, your landscape will be ready for another growing season in no time!
Clear Away Dead Plant Material
Spring clean-up is as necessary outside as it is inside your home—maybe even more so! After months of dreary weather and harsh winter winds, your landscape is likely looking less-than-polished. Start your checklist by gutting any dead perennial leaves and weeds, and it’ll instantly look more refreshed. Aside from the undeniable aesthetic advantage, clearing away dead plant material will also reduce the spread of pests and disease throughout your landscape. Make sure you dispose of dead plant matter properly so that it doesn’t get the chance to spread to other plants.
Prune Trees and Shrubs
After clearing away the obvious eyesores, it’s time to move on to the live branches. While trimming perfectly good branches may seem counter-productive, for most perennial trees and shrubs, pruning is actually vital for good health. Trimming away up to one-third of their branches will encourage new growth and ample blooms for flowering plants.
Before going to town with your shears, consider the time at which each plant blooms. For now, leave your spring-blooming trees and shrubs alone. Come back to them later on in the season, after you’ve already enjoyed their gorgeous floral display. However, if you’ve got some summer-bloomers on your hands, this is the ideal time for pruning, since they’ve yet to set buds on the year’s new wood.
Tend to The Lawn
Your lawn is like a big, green blanket for your entire property. Lawn care is often neglected in the spring as we focus our time and attention on seeding and flowers. Let’ s face it; you can pretty-up your plants and garden beds all you want, but if your lawn is looking dull and yellow, so is the rest of your landscape. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to encourage your lawn to grow lush and green as early as possible.
The first thing you can do to wake up your lawn is to rake up debris and remove layers of thatch near the soil surface. This technique aerates the ground and allows the lawn to breathe. If you notice any thin or bare patches of grass, now is the perfect time for overseeding. It’s also important to keep the grass well-watered—although the rain will likely do that job for you once the April showers arrive! Wait until new grass reaches a height of at least 2 inches before mowing it.
Prepare Your Garden Beds
Next up, garden beds! Whether your flower beds are full of native flowers or spring-flowering bulbs, or they’re waiting for some fresh, new annuals, tackle these chores to prepare your flower garden for the season.
Clear away any old plant material and spent annuals, if you didn’t already do so back in the fall. Throughout the year, some soil and soil amendments will have washed away, and what’s left is likely deprived of nutrients. Refresh the area by topping up your flower beds with soil and mixing in some compost. This will provide essential nutrients to your fast-growing and prolific-bloomers, and enrich the soil with beneficial microorganisms that’ll keep the area fertile. Don’t forget to spread some fresh mulch around the roots of your perennial plants, trees, and shrubs.
Preparing your vegetable garden for spring is much the same—you’ll want to refresh the soil in the area with appropriate soil amendments. Again, organic matter, such as compost, is vital for nourishing your veggies and growing successful crops. Take a look at which vegetable seeds should be started indoors, and which ones you can direct sow here.
While it’s common to fill your beds and containers with annuals and edibles, consider adding a few new native plants to your property, too. There are plenty of beautiful plants that are native to our region, and many with beautiful, early spring blooms! As they naturally grow in similar environments, they generally require very little maintenance once they’re established and won’t need any artificial fertilizers or chemical pesticides to thrive.
Native species also provide essential food and shelter for local wildlife and are more easily recognized by pollinators. Soon enough, your landscape will be bustling with these welcome visitors! Visit us at one of our three Greenstreet Gardens locations, and we’ll help you find the plants best suited for your landscape.
Don’t Forget About the Hardscapes
As important as it is to nurture the living elements of your landscape, don’t forget about your hardscapes! A cycle of freezing and thawing, as well as soggy soils, can take a toll on hardscapes such as retaining walls, pathways, and patios. Spray down any rock or stone accents with a hose to clean off any accumulated dirt. Maintain fences, patios, and other outdoor elements by repairing winter damage and giving them a new coat of wood stain. Finally, take your outdoor furniture out of storage and set up your outdoor living spaces!
After completing these simple spring garden chores, you’ll find your yard is bustling with life and beauty. Now, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the benefits of all of your hard work!