Spring in the Garden

May 1st, 2020

Garden To do's

The start date of Spring Gardening is always a moving target because of the weather. Please consider Spring Temperatures, especially our evening temperatures and weather conditions. Weather and ground conditions are the determining factor for our lawn and soils and considering those things change from year to year many of these tasks depend on certain weather conditions.

Boots on wet soil

With Spring Gardening wet garden beds are a no feet zone. You will be just compacting the soil and depleting of oxygen and all the Spring rain will run right off the garden or lawn instead of penetrating deep into the soil.

But there certainly are a few things you can get started on sooner rather than later.

Lawns:

  • If your lawn is very wet then hold off raking. Damaging the lawn too soon makes the perfect empty spaces for weed seeds to take hold.
  • Most of April is too early for grass seed. Grass Seed needs evening temperatures to be above 16 degrees to germinate.
  • For weed control, you can use Corn Gluten. It is a weed inhibitor, it coats the weed seeds and prevents them from germinating remember our weeds germinate earlier than our grass. The best time to apply Corn Gluten is when the Forsythia is blooming. I have heard that it takes applying this product consistently Spring and Fall over a couple of seasons to really see the results. I wanted you to know that it is not a quick fix.

Annuals, Perennials and Vegetables:

Note that because of the cooler temperatures a lot of beneficial insects have not woken up yet, they are sleeping in the dead stems of your perennials and grasses. So try to leave the garden as it is as long as possible. When you are ready to start your Spring Gardening, here are some areas to work on.

  • Cut back Ornamental Grasses
  • Clean out your winter arrangements and plants some cool-season pansies, potted bulbs and forsythia branches to brighten up your entrance if possible.
  • Remove last year’s stems from your perennials, carefully clean up debris around them
  • Weed an existing vegetable garden, adding compost to amend the soil
  • Replace the soil in your container gardens with fresh soil and a bit of compost. Feel free to work old potting soil into your gardens when the soil can be worked.
  • Start Annual Flower Seed and Vegetable seeds, check last frost dates. Some seeds can be saved for direct sowing.
  • Make note of perennials that you want to divide and where else they can go in your garden
  • Divide at the end of the month, pot up plants that you no longer need to share

Trees and Shrubs:

  • Call Arborist for Mature trees: leave the pruning of these to the Pro’s
  • Spring pruning is a popular mistake. Avoid pruning any plants that will bloom in the Spring, like Lilac and Weigela
  • Hydrangeas can be deadheaded and prune 1/3 of the branches throughout the shrub to approximately 2/3 in length. Always want to encourage new growth throughout the shrub.

 

This includes Annabelle Hydrangeas. Do not cut them all the way back to the ground. The new growth will make them too floppy under their flower heads.

Annabelle Hydrangeas in Winter

 

Evergreens:

  • Remove any winter kill ( discoloured stems) on yews or boxwood now
  • If you want your yews or boxwoods to grow more or fill in a hedge, resist trimming them in the Spring as you will be removing new growth therefore preventing them from filling out. You can always shape them late June after the new growth appears.
  • Lightly prune cedars or junipers.

I hope you find these Spring Gardening tips helpful and if you want more gardening information you can check out Down the Garden Path Podcast or my website www.down2earth.ca.

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