Your Spring Garden Checklist

Clean Up 

After a long winter, spring is the perfect time to get your yard and garden in tip-top shape. A little maintenance now will save you tons of time and hassle later on! Start your spring cleanup by inspecting your lawn, edgings and landscape beds for any damage that occurred during the winter. This includes broken water lines, pushed-up paving or landscape edging and any other items that haven’t been properly maintained. Also check your flower beds and bushes for any matted down leaves, plant debris or last year’s perennial foliage. Once you’ve cleaned up your garden beds, mulch them lightly to protect the soil and keep weeds at bay. 


Spring is a perfect time to plant your favorite vegetables, like peas, broccoli, and kale. Depending on your USDA hardiness zone, you can start these and other plants indoors in late February through March or transplant them outside in mid- to late April. Early blooming perennials such as lilacs, roses and peonies will also bloom at this time of year, giving your garden a pop of color. Adding spring-flowering bulbs such as tulips, daffodils and hyacinth will add even more color to your garden. When planting, make sure to give your plants the sun they need! For most perennials and annuals, that means six to eight hours of direct sunlight. 


Watering your garden is a must, especially when you’re growing vegetables or other crops that need consistent moisture. The amount of water your garden needs depends on the time of year and how much rain falls in your area. Water your plants frequently, but not all at once. That can cause the soil to absorb too much moisture and make the top layer of soil soggy. Watering your plants in the morning or evening can help keep them hydrated and discourage pests from munching on them. This also helps protect your plants from the heat of summer. 


Pruning is a great way to maintain the structure and health of shrubs and trees. It also helps to control their size and encourages fresh growth. For most plants, pruning should be done about every two to three years. The frequency depends on the type of plant, how fast it grows and what you’re trying to accomplish. Spring-flowering shrubs that bloom on old growth should be pruned in early spring, after they’ve finished flowering. This includes panicle hydrangeas, rose-of-Sharon, Summersweet (Clethra spp.), bush honeysuckle (Diervilla spp.) and Japanese Spirea. 


There is no better time than Spring to inspect and repair damaged landscape features, fix tools, check garden fences, paths and trellises, and even make new beds. Remove winter mulch and add fresh compost to soil (at least six inches). Soil prep will help plants thrive in early spring. Trim flowering shrubs, such as butterfly bushes, smooth hydrangea, and panicle hydrangea, in spring before buds start to bloom. This will help them set their buds on fresh growth.