Taking a weekend to prep your yard to get ready for spring plants and flowers will lead to an easier, more successful planting session. Following this simple strategy will give you bigger, brighter blooms, earlier in the season and stronger, longer lasting flowers throughout the year.
The first item on your spring checklist should be a thorough preparation of all of your garden equipment. This means sharpening the blades on pruning shears, taping the handles on spades, staring up the lawn mower and making sure it is in working order. But, it also means making sure that you have work gloves, planting spikes and a good permanent marker.
Setting up your planting station two to three weeks before the last frost will assure that you have everything you need, when you need it. When you are stocking the planting table, make sure that you include a small first aid kit with bandages and peroxide so you can quickly handle any cuts and scrapes when they happen so they don’t get neglected and infected.
Once you’ve restocked your gear and have all your equipment ready to go, it’s time to give a little TLC to your yard. This includes putting down a pre-emergent weed control and fertilizer mix on your lawn and, if necessary, contacting a grub control service to handle those little white root munchers.
In addition to laying down weed control, aerating the lawn is also a good step. This can be done by renting an aeration roller, or donning a pair of golf spikes and walking around the yard for an hour. The idea is to break up the compacted soil that happens over the winter months.
Bulb and Perennial Prep and Pruning
If you have spring bulbs or perennial plants that need to be separated, it should be done two to three weeks before new plantings go in. This gives the damaged root systems a chance to heal without having to compete with new plantings. Don’t dig up bulbs if it is under 40 degrees outside. Even a short shock at this temperature can retard the growing period for a few weeks.
This is also the best time to prune your fast growing bushes. Burning bushes and wisteria can be pruned prior to the spring growing period but forsythia should be pruned sparingly. Only the green shoots will produce the vibrant yellow flowers that the bush is known for. They are better pruned after the bloom period is over or at the end of the fall.
If you have a sprinkler system, schedule a spring tune up. There are plenty of things that can happen to pop up heads and rotor systems over the winter. This is also an opportune time to get a system installed if you don’t already have one. If you don’t have a system and aren’t planning on installing one, you can still check your hoses and sprinklers to make sure they are in good shape.
Sprucing up your spring patio and planning your planting beds is the last step in spring prep. When you are planning, keep your color bed theme in mind. If you aren’t using perennials as your predominant color, look at this year’s current hot trends. The hot colors for this year are purple and white with variegated foliage. Using several shades of purple and white can create a very soft and inviting look on the exterior of the home. For something more active and vibrant, use the traditional reds and yellows.
When you are planning your beds, make sure to prepare the soil with the correct additives. If you are going with acidic soil plants, adding sawdust or peat moss into the soil will help tremendously. For alkaline lovers, wood ash and lime are good additives.
With a few simple preparation tips, you can ensure your planting season is a success!