Gardeners of all experience levels can benefit from a quick once-over of the yard and garden as spring arrives. Whether it’s to clean up, weed, or plant, there are many tasks that need to be done in order to grow.
Re-mulch areas to prevent weeds. Catch any invasive plants before they take over and remove spent flower blooms from bulbs to encourage the bulb to rebloom.
1. Clean Up
From experienced gardeners to newbies, spring is an exciting time to take on gardening projects. It’s also a good time to clean up the yard and garden shed. This includes storing or cleaning tools, sharpening them and replacing any that are worn.
In northern states mid-late April should be the earliest to start clearing garden debris and cutting back perennials. Many pollinators like bees overwinter in dead plant material and removing it too early can destroy them before they emerge.
Pull winter weeds while they are still small using a hand-held hoe or cultivator and apply a pre-emergent herbicide to the beds if needed. Mulch open soil areas with compost, shredded leaves or fine bark mulch to suppress weeds and add slow-release nutrients. Also, clean off and refill bird feeders and fill the birdbaths.
Weeding may be one of the gardener’s least favorite tasks, but it is essential to keep unwanted plants from seeding. They steal water and soil minerals from your vegetables and flowers.
When the ground warms up, pull weeds and dead leaves that have sprouted over winter in your vegetable and flower beds. Try to weed when the soil is slightly moist so the roots are more easily pulled from the ground.
Applying a pre-emergent weed control in your lawn now is also a good idea. Products like Amaze Pre-Emergent and WeedBeater Plus help prevent weeds from growing. Be sure to read the label instructions and apply as directed.
April 14 is National Gardening Day, but getting your garden ready for spring planting goes beyond just tidying up. Here are some of our favorite spring gardening tips to get you started:
The soil is the foundation of your garden, so start with a good cleaning and inspect for damage. Soil that is over worked, compacted or eroded loses its ability to hold nutrients and water.
Pull any weeds that have popped up during the winter and early spring. They are easier to pull now when they are small and the roots have not yet established themselves.
Check your tools and re-condition or replace them as needed. Clean out and refill patio planters. Add a fresh supply of soil to each planter to replenish the nutrients depleted by plants in the past year.
Adding compost and a light application of fertilizer is also a good idea for flower gardens. Fertilizer is best applied when the weather is consistently warm, which typically happens in late March and early April for most areas.
Avoid applying too much high-nitrogen fertilizer, as this can burn or “piss off” seedlings and other crops that may not like it (like leafy greens). Then they won’t grow as well.
This is a great time to prune fruit trees, remove spent flowers and other garden debris. This will help your plants conserve energy so they can focus on growing and developing. Aim to have your garden fully weeded and fertilized before planting starts in earnest. This will save you a lot of work later. Having the garden prepared will make it much easier to keep on track throughout the summer.
It’s a great time to plant flowers, vegetables and shrubs. If you’re new to gardening, start with vegetables that are easy to grow like beans, mixed greens, zucchinis and radishes.
Inspect all the plants, trees and shrubs that survived the harsh winter to see what needs attention. Look for damage from wind, frost and other conditions.
The soil is the lifeblood of a garden, and it’s important to get it back in shape. Inspect it and add organic fertilizers if needed.
Also, inspect and repair any structures like trellises and fences. If you want to attract more birds and bees, clean out bird feeders and fill birdbaths. These spring garden tips will help your garden thrive all summer long.