Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Early spring gardening chores

Eager to get started in the garden? Here are some early spring gardening chores that you can start now.
If you didn't prune your perennials (mums, asters, sedum, etc) last fall, now's a good time to carefully cut back dead growth.
You may see new growth starting to show, so leave the mulch in place for a little longer to help preserve moisture and keep the ground stable.

Now is the time to prune ornamental grasses down close to the ground. This will give groom them for this year's growth. Aerate your lawn and leave the plugs in place. Spring and fall aeration is one of the best things to do to improve your lawn.
Now is also a good time to top-dress perennial beds. Shovel some compost and peat moss in amongst your perennials, working around the mulch and being careful to not damage early blooming tulips, crocus and daffodils.
Take a close look at your shade trees and fruit trees. You'll want to prune any water shoots coming up from the bottom of the trunk and cut off any crossing branches. No need to use pruning paint to seal cuts.
If you saw this kind of damage in your trees last year, now's a good time to prune it out. Fire blight is a serious problem that can damage trees and shrubs. Pruning the affected areas now will reduce the chances of spreading the disease further. It's still too early to prune roses. Wait until we're well into April to prune them. If we don't get some moisture soon, water your trees, perennials and lawn. Late winter, early spring supplemental watering is important, especially since we've had some very windy days lately. This is also a good time to plant something. You can plant potatoes, onions and any number of cool weather crops including lettuce, spinach, kale and radishes.
You can plant a quick-germinating cover crop, like clover or winter rye.
While you're at it, plant some spring color. Pansies and violas are hardy annuals that will give you great color well into spring.

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