SPRING MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST

Spring is a time of change for our gardens and being prepared helps keep us ahead of the game. Take a look at these 10 tips from HGTV to get your garden and tools all ready for summer!

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  1. Revive Garden Decor
    In cold winter zones, kick off the garden season by taking decorative items out of winter storage and replacing them in planting beds. Gazing balls, colorful glass stakes, wind chimes, whirligigs and other décor can add color to the garden before plants are doing much more than sprouting. In warm zones, clean up garden décor to remove last year’s dirt.
  2. Plant Summer Bulbs
    Get warm-weather bulbs, like dahlias, off to a solid start by planting them in pots before the ground is warm enough for planting. In the coldest areas, you might want to start bulbs indoors. In many regions, you can give bulbs a head start on the season by sprouting them in black nursery pots set on a sunny patio or driveway—somewhere that solid surfaces can retain heat and help warm soil.
  3. Add Compost to Beds
    Some perennial crops, like roses, clematis, bramble berries and delphinium benefit from an early spring topdressing of compost. Apply a 2- to 3-inch-thick layer around the base of plants. Take care not to bury any new sprouts. If possible, apply compost before rain, which will help settle it into place.
  4. Clean Up Beds
    Remove any leaves that accumulated in planting beds over winter. Take care when clearing beds after perennial shoots are pushing through soil. New shoots are tender and easily broken. It’s usually better to work with your hands than to use a rake—of any type.
  5. Prune Ornamental Grasses
    Tackle pruning dormant ornamental grasses before new shoots appear. Hand pruners work well on small grass clumps. For larger ones, use bungee cords to wrap the clump, then cut through it easily with electric hedge clippers. Cut micanthus clumps to a cone shape, so that the center remains higher than the edges. This helps keep the center of the clump from dying out.
  6. Fill Birdbaths
    Fill birdbaths once temperatures are reliably above freezing. If chances of freezing temps still threaten, slip a basic birdbath heater into water to keep it thawed and available for birds.
  7. Prune Fruit Trees
    Tackle dormant pruning of fruit trees before buds break. Research your particular fruit trees to make sure you know what steps to take. For tree forms, you’ll prune to have an open canopy with good air flow. Beyond that, certain trees require specific pruning steps. Study a bit so you can prune with confidence.
  8. Inspect Paths
    Check stepper and flagstone paths for frost heave. Uneven stones are a tripping hazard. If soil is too wet, don’t try to reseat stones. Wait until soil dries a bit to lift stones and settle them back into place.
  9. Clip Perennials
    Remove last season’s remaining dead growth on perennials. While it’s tempting to pull dead stems away from the crown, that’s also an easy way to yank the entire plant out of the soil, especially moist spring soil. Use pruners instead to clip stems.
  10. Repair Structures
    While planting beds are too wet or too cold to work in, take time to look over trellises, arbors, pergolas and other supports. Check hardware at joints and tighten or replace as needed. Early spring—before plants have grown tall—is a great time to paint or stain structures.

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