Spring Garden Guide

Spring is a favorite season for many gardeners, and performing the proper tasks from late winter through late spring can help you enjoy a productive, bountiful growing season.

In late winter…

When a few warm days arrive late in winter, it's time to start thinking about spring gardening. As snow begins melting, the following tasks should be on every gardener's to-do list…

  • Planning garden beds, including any new beds or plantings. This includes adjusting beds for space as needed and deciding which plants will work well together.
  • Cleaning out any remaining plant debris from the previous year, including removing winter mulch so soil can be easily worked when planting time arrives.
  • Working compost or other soil amendments down into the top several inches of the soil so it has time to finish breaking down before planting begins.
  • Cleaning and repairing all garden tools so they are in prime condition for use as soon as spring completely arrives. Upgrading tools as needed.
  • Starting seeds indoors or herbs in pots to jump start the planting season and extend the growing season for greater variety.

In early to mid-spring…

As spring gets underway and there are more warm days than cool days but before the last risk of frost has passed, there are still spring gardening tasks that can be attended to, including…

  • Pruning fruit trees, roses and ornamental grasses to ensure optimal growth. Prune any plants that have been damaged from winter storms as well.
  • Planting trees, shrubs and other large plants early so they have plenty of time to get well-established, but be sure the soil is warm enough to support healthy root growth.
  • Dividing perennials as needed, and planting cool-season annuals that will thrive in cooler early spring weather.
  • Testing soil pH in order to plan for the appropriate plants, and altering fertilizing treatments or other amendments to adjust soil chemistry if needed.
  • Weeding conscientiously to keep beds free from unwanted intruders. Weeds are much easier to remove when they are small and beds are loose from spring moisture.

In mid- to late spring…

When every day shows the warmth of spring and spring flowers are happily blooming, it's a great time to attend to any remaining spring garden tasks, such as…

  • Inspecting and repairing automatic sprinklers and a garden drip system so it is ready to provide ample moisture after spring rains taper off.
  • Spreading new mulch over newly planted beds to minimize weed intrusion and protect soil moisture into the summer months.
  • Pruning spring flowering shrubs such as lilacs and forsythia after they have finished blooming to help keep their shape and encourage new growth.
  • Planting late harvest garden vegetables or fall-blooming flowers to extend the growing season for as long as possible.
  • Tending to the needs of backyard wildlife as birds arrive on spring migration by adding bird feeders, houses and baths to the garden.

Spring is a busy gardening season, from the first hint of warmer weather in late winter to the fullest days of spring just before summer arrives. By working on the right tasks throughout the season, every gardener can enjoy a productive and promising spring.

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