Whether you’re planting a whole new landscape bed, a single shrub, or a flat of annuals, properly preparing the soil will help your plants grow faster, stronger, and healthier. You can begin improving your soil as soon as it’s workable in spring. (Quick test: Your soil is workable when a handful of soil doesn’t stick together in a glob.)
Add organic materials to the soil
Organic matter breaks up clay soil, adds substance to sandy soil, and provides the porosity that’s needed to encourage your plants’ root systems. You can’t have a healthy plant without a good root system, and soil with proper porosity will:
- Make more oxygen available to plants’ roots
- Reduce runoff compared to hard, crusty soil
- Allow more more water and nutrients to reach the roots
- Encourage roots to spread out and develop into a sturdy underground network
How to do it
Add organic materials by spreading them over the top of a bed, then turning or tilling them in – or by mixing them with soil removed from planting holes before backfilling around transplants.
You can add numerous organic materials to your soil individually or, to remove the guesswork about what and how much to add, use a scientifically formulated product. It replaces do-it-yourself mixtures of topsoil, peat, and manure – and you can choose a mixture created especially for your plants: Flowers & Vegetables, Roses, and Trees, Shrubs & Ornamentals.
Control weeds early
To make your garden maintenance easier this year, keep weed control in mind when preparing your beds and planting this spring. You can prevent many weeds from growing in your garden by sprinkling “Garden Weed Preventer” between your plants. Its built-in applicator makes it quick, accurate, and easy to use, and it will head off weed seeds before they germinate.
If you find some weeds already growing, spray them with grass killer. It is best to spray weeds before putting in new plants. If you do need to spray around your healthy plants, do so with care. Roundup should only come into contact with plants you want to eliminate. Roundup comes in spray bottles that make it easy to apply precisely. For best results, apply Roundup when the temperature is 60 degrees or above.