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One of the best things about the first thaws of spring is watching the peeks of new growth from your perennials, or watching the leaf buds on your trees and shrubs begin to open and expand. Spring bulbs emerge and fill the air with sweet fragrances and bright color. Your lawn begins to green and come back to life. Your garden will readily begin to come to life as the weather warms, but it’ll still rely on you for some extra care and attention before the growing season really gets going. Here are some things you can do to help get your garden going after winter.
- Prune fall flowering shrubs and trees. This is a good time to attend to any rejuvenating cuttings and removal of dead wood from winter’s onslaught.
- Clean the crowns of emerging perennials, such as daylilies and ornamental grasses. Remove last year’s layer of deceased growth, making room and airing out the crown when the weather warms, keeping your plants from getting fungal diseases.
- Plant summer blooming bulbs and tender bulbs dug up from the fall, such as gladiolas and tender lilies. Canna, ranunculus, calla lilies, begonia tubers, elephant ears, and other such bulbs, corms, and tubers should be planted in the spring as soon as all danger of frost has past.
- Prepare your veggie garden. Start with making sure your soil is ready. Amend with organic matter and compost after removing protective coverings if you put one on over the winter. If you want to cut down on weeding, use a weed inhibitor on your vegetable beds, such as Preen before you plant your already sprouted starts, or wait until your sown seeds sprout and produce true leaves before using a product like Preen.
- For your lawn, use a fertilizer and weed preventer/killer before broadleaf weeds and crabgrass begin showing up. Broadleaf weeds common in turf are dandelions and grass plantain. A comprehensive lawn killer and feeder should do the trick if you apply it yearly, but if you’re just starting out you may need to spot spray weeds out of your lawn with a chemical defoliant appropriate for the job. Wait until your lawn has grown to about three inches in legnth before you begin mowing. If you mow too early, you could expose the grass to drying out and too much sun. Allow the grass clippings from your first few mowings to mulch into your lawn, but make sure that the grass clippings don’t pile up on top of your lawn.
- Add a fresh layer of mulch to your established perennial beds as they come back to life.
- Take time to remove weeds out of walkways either by hand or with a chemical like Roundup. If you don’t get a handle on these tough weeds now, you’ll never completely eradicate as the season progresses.
Waking up your garden from a long winter’s sleep is an exciting and rejuvenating time, something most gardeners look forward to each year. If you’re like me, you’ll be jumping at the bit to get out in the yard and get everything ready for the growing season ahead. There’s plenty to do, so enjoy and happy spring!