8 Essential Spring Gardening TipsApril 16, 2020
As the weather warms up and winter starts edging out, everything starts to come back to life and grow again. If you have a garden or are planning to start a garden, there are a lot of things you can do to improve your gardens and promote growth. Here are some spring gardening tips to get you started:
1. Give Your Yard a Good Once Over
Before doing anything specific to your yard and garden, just take a look at it and see what damage has occurred over the very cold winter months. Winters vary from year to year and the damage will fluctuate as well. Plus, as spring showers roll in, storms can cause damage and leave debris around your yard.
Find the broken branches or dead plants that are in the garden and get rid of them if you can. Remove any rocks that may have fallen into it or other debris from storms. Plus, as you work through your yard, you’ll be able to identify where you can start a new garden plot or how you can expand the current gardens you have.
You also want to take note of any changes in walls, fences, trellises, and other hardscaping elements. Also, keep an eye out for signs of pests or new animal burrows. Skunks, moles, groundhogs, rabbits, and more can all wreak havoc on your garden beds and plants. And, several insect species can inhibit plant growth or flat-out kill your plants.
2. Address Any Hardscaping Issues You Find
You don’t have to wait for the soil to be completely ready to be worked to address any hardscaping issues you find. Early spring is a great time to make sure your retaining walls are repaired and back in shape. If you have stepping stones or stone pathways, it’s a good time to level those out as needed and replace any broken stones.
On top of that, you’ll want to clean out your gutters and make sure your downspouts are still pointing where they should be. You should also check in on any benches, fences, trellises, or sheds around your yard as well as window boxes and raised beds. You can even make plans to add new raised beds or widen existing ones.
3. Edge and Clean the Garden Beds
After the big pieces of debris have been removed in your cursory once-over of the yard and the garden itself, edge around the garden beds using an edger. If you edged and raked out the beds to prepare for spring planting, there shouldn’t be too much to clean up.
Still, it’s a good idea to check and make sure everything is good to go as your spring plants grow. There may be some beds that need to be cleaned out again. This is also a good time to prune any foliage that has started to creep into your garden beds and burgeoning plants.
4. Test the Garden Bed Soil
With a home pH test kit, which is available at most home and garden stores of all sizes, test the quality of the soil itself. This allows you to check that your soil pH is where it should be to encourage growth. Based on the results, you’ll be able to make small adjustments by feeding your soil anything it is missing.
5. Divide and Transplant as Needed
As things begin to grow and pop up, one of the spring gardening tips is to divide and transplant things as needed. Perennials that have outgrown their current space or that have grown large enough to be split can be divided and transplanted.
Stick to dividing and transplanting perennials that bloom in summer and fall. Doing this in the spring for these perennials doesn’t disrupt their bloom cycle. For spring-blooming perennials, you can plan to divide and transplant them in the fall if needed.
If you have deciduous shrubs, it’s best to move them when they are dormant. Although you can move them at any time, moving them while they are dormant tends to cause less stress on them and allows them to spring back more quickly. Because of this, spring and fall tend to be the preferred seasons for transplanting these shrubs.
When it comes to evergreen shrubs, it’s usually best to move them in early spring or in early fall. Transplanting them in early spring happens before new growth appears. Doing it in early fall gives these plants a chance to re-establish roots before winter sets in.
6. Put Out Necessary Supports
As it starts to warm up for spring, it’s time to put out necessary supports. Trellises that have been in the garage for winter should be examined, cleaned, repainted if needed, and brought out to the garden.
This is also a great time to place or adjust stakes and other supports your plants need to thrive as they grow. If you have any bird feeders or bird baths to put out in the garden, this is a good time to clean and sanitize those before placing them outside again.
7. Add Fresh Mulch
In addition to anything you add to adjust the pH of your soil, it’s also a good idea to add mulch to your garden beds. A layer of 1-3 inches of fresh mulch can help keep moisture in the garden while also maintaining the temperature.
It can also help prevent diseases and control weeds. However, you want to keep the mulch a few inches from your plant stems. Too much mulch too close to plant stems can cause roots to rot.
8. Be Prepared to Cover Your Plants
Spring can be potentially volatile in some areas. This is why one of the spring gardening tips is to be prepared to cover your plants. If late spring temperature drops are common in your area, you want to be prepared to cover and protect your plants should the forecast call for freezing temperatures.
Stick to linen and cloth coverings. It may be tempting to throw a plastic sheet or tarp down, but plastic tends to magnify the cold when it is directly against new buds rather than reduce it. Old linens like sheets or towels or a professional row cover are good options for protecting newly emerging buds.
Keeping spring planting tips in mind the fall before can help you prepare your garden better for spring growth. After that, these spring gardening tips can help your garden recover from winter and promote growth as spring progresses. Plus, as you move through maintaining your yard and garden, you can come up with ideas for future plants, gardens, and more.
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