Spring is the make or break time for your garden. To ensure you don’t forget anything, here is a simple checklist to follow. Complete all the tasks and you will have beautiful, healthy plants this year.
1. Order summer plants- Rainy and wet outside? Use this time to get online and order seeds and flowering bulbs for your summer planting.
2. Organize your gardening tools- If you didn’t do this last fall, make sure to clean and sharpen your tools. Not only will they be easier to use, but your will prevent bacteria from being introduced into your new plantings and pruning “wounds”. While you’re at it, take inventory. If there’s anything you’re missing, now is the perfect time to purchase it as you will be able to use it all season.
3. Deadhead spring bulbs- Now that your hyacinths and other bulbs have stopped blooming, remove the flowers. Make sure to cut it back at the base of the stem. Wait until the leaves turn yellow (tulips and daffodils) or brown (hyacinths), then remove those as well.
4. Prune summer trees and shrubs- Thin and trim your summer-blooming shrubs such as roses and hydrangea. Roses should be cut above the bud, like in the following example:
5. Build new flower beds- Now is the time to do this. Clear the planting area, and remove all sod, weeds and debris. Spread a four inch layer of compost over the soil, then cultivate it to a depth of 10 to 12 inches with a spading fork.
6. Mulch- Do this now and you will have hardly any weeds over the summer.But make sure you remove all the weeds before applying the mulch.
7. Start pest control- Look closely at the crowns of your perennial plants and you may find slugs, snails and aphid colonies sheltering for the winter. Remove them now before you have a much bigger problem.
8. Test your soil- Proper pH levels are important for the health of your plants. Plus, if you love hydrangeas like we do, you can adjust pH levels to change their color. For most plants, a pH level of 6.5 works well. To raise pH levels add dolomitic lime, add elemental sulfur to lower the pH. Hydrangeas turn blue in more acidic soil and pink in neutral to basic soil.