Spring is officially here! Now is the time to get outside and begin to prepare for the planting season. With the warmer days popping up in between the rain showers, pick a day that is warm and dry to begin your yard work. Putting time and energy into your garden bed before the season starts will get all your plants off to a good start!
Here are some suggestions for garden bed preparation. Remember, when you can begin planting is determined by which hardiness zone you live in.
Rake your garden beds to clean out the debris that has collected all winter. Leaves, dead plants, rocks and sticks should all be removed. If you have a garden bed where you planted spring-flowering bulbs, take care when raking to not disturb them.
- Begin fighting weeds before they appear in your garden beds! Apply a pre-emergent to control weeds before they invade your garden and steal precious nutrients and water from your plants.
- Trim back ornamental grasses that have become overgrown through the winter.
- Spring is a great time to apply mulch to garden beds once planting is finished. Mulch will help the soil retain oxygen, and protect it from heavy spring rains and hot sun. Try to spread the mulch between 2 and 3 inches. This is deep enough to act as a barrier to weeds and still allow for seeds and bulbs to grow.
- Prune trees and shrubs. Early spring pruning should be done before growth begins, before leaves and flowers appear on trees. Examine the branches and develop a pruning strategy before you get started.
Sometimes soap and water just won’t get those dirty gardening hands clean. Try some lemon juice to attack those hard-to-clean spots.
Divide hostas, daisies, peonies and other perennial plants periodically to keep them strong and beautiful. Overgrown perennials choke out other plants and compete with themselves for light and nutrients. Most perennials should be divided every 2 or 3 years. Check with a garden expert if you’re not sure.