Now that the snow has cleared, it's time to get growing. Take stock of your landscape and gardens, and prepare for a beautiful, productive season ahead. These timely tips can help you set the stage:
1. Start with a thorough spring cleaning. Pests and diseases can overwinter in plant debris, so clear your gardens of decaying leaves or similar material. Cut perennials back to the ground to make way for new growth. Cut ornamental grasses back to a height of 4 to 6 inches.
2. Prune shrubs and trees to remove dead or damaged wood. Shape up stems that rabbits and deer hit during late-winter storms. Do general shaping, if needed, but resist pruning spring-blooming shrubs, such as lilacs, until after they flower or you risk removing buds that are ready to bloom.
3. Be patient with wet gardens. Working overly wet soil can cancel out all the effort you’ve invested in creating healthy, productive soil. Squeeze some soil in your hand; then open your fist. If it forms a tight clump, let it dry a few more days. If it crumbles, dig in!
4. Don't rush to plant tender annuals and veggies. Wait until danger of frost has passed; then stay prepared to cover tender plants on cold spring nights. At the nursery, our last spring frost typically happens around May 10. If you’re unsure about yours, give your county extension agent a call.
5. Reseed thin areas and dead spots in your lawn. Seeding now gives grass time to establish during its vigorous growth period, before summer heat sets in. While you're at it, take a quick tour of your yard and look for any roadside rocks, debris or long-lost kid and pet toys that might wreak havoc with mowers later.
6. Remove faded flowers – but not leaves – from spring-blooming bulbs. Bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, rely on leaves to soak up sun and replenish energy stores that fuel next spring's blooms. Once leaves turn yellow, cut them back to the ground.
7. Enhance your landscape with new perennials, shrubs and trees. Perk up areas that lacked winter excitement by adding trees and shrubs with persistent fruit or colorful foliage and bark, such as Red Jewel crabapple or Prairie Fire dogwood, for four-season interest. And don't forget roses, perennials and grasses ready to beautify summer days.
Most importantly, enjoy your garden and the world around you as it springs to life again. If you’re in our neighborhood, stop in for special events and garden inspiration at our new retail garden center, Winterland Nursery, or let McKay's Landscaping Services lend a hand with design, installation or maintenance services to help you create and enjoy the landscape of your dreams.