Tidy Up: Cleaning up your flower beds is key to having the perfect clean slate for the upcoming growing season. First, remove any protective mulch from around your perennials and ornamental grasses. Clear away any dead leaves or debris from winter storms. Always remember to wear gardening gloves when working in your garden; they will help keep you protected from any plants with prickly leaves or toxic-to-the-touch plants. If your landscape has any stonework, check for any disruptive frost heaves. Disinfect your garden tools and finally, clean off your outdoor furniture and patio to prepare for spending more time outdoors in the warmer months.
Prune: Early spring is a great time to trim any trees or shrubs and prepare them for their growing period. If you did not prune your fruit trees in the winter, prune them now. Make sure you prune before any buds begin to form or you could stress out the tree resulting in little to no blooming or growing period. If a plant blooms on old wood, mid-spring may be too late to prun without hindering blooms. Rather, you should wait until fall or the following early spring. It is also the perfect time to prune any summer-blooming trees or shrubs (if they bloom on new wood) and shrubs right before they let out new growth.
Mulch: Adding fresh mulch is one of the easiest ways to make your garden look neat and polished. It not only will help with the look of your garden tidy and professional, but it will also help retain moisture in your soil and keep weeds down. We recommend opting for an organic, natural mulch. Spread a 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch either with a rake or gloved hands, whichever you prefer. It is best to keep the layer as level and even as possible. This will reduce mulch from spreading and wandering due to heavy winds or rainy weather. It will often take more mulch than you expect to cover your garden beds, so it is best to get a bit extra to be on the safe side. Also, make sure to leave a gap between the mulch and the base of your plants because this could cause problems or diseases to arise. If you have areas in your garden with downspouts that wash away mulch, try replacing the mulch with river rocks in those areas.
Spreaders: Some perennials love to spread, try dividing them up before their spring growth begins. Spreading plants like hostas are necessary to divide up to ensure they don’t take over one area or look messy. Doing so will help maintain a tidy-looking garden and is a budget-friendly way to fill your garden with more plants. Another good way to keep existing perennials healthy is to identify any that grow in a large clump habit. If they do, divide them up to avoid them from thinning out and encourage new growth, rather than stop growth on that plant completely. When digging up your plant, be careful not to break any roots to ensure healthy plants all around.
Clean tools: It is easy to forget about keeping your gardening tools clean, but it is imperative to do so. Dirty gardening tools and pots can spread diseases from infected plants to healthy ones. Especially if you are planting or potting new plants, you don’t want to immediately infect them before they have the chance to establish and grow. Properly cleaning and disinfecting your tools will reduce the spread of any pests or diseases if you know you were working on an already diseased or infested plant. You can clean your tools by using a variety of cleaning solutions. Bleach is a great way to clean without purchasing a special disinfectant. However, cleaning with bleach can be tricky and must be done properly. Mix your bleach with water at a 1 to 9 ratio; 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. It will clean large hand tools like shovels and rakes or large containers best. Keep this mixture away from any sharp pruning or cutting tools that could create pits and nicks in the metal.