After a long and strange pattern of winter weather, it appears spring might actually be here. Early April is the perfect time to get outdoors on a bright sunny day to prepare your yard and garden for the warmer weather ahead.
Here are a few tips for spring gardening now:
Of all the tasks you need to accomplish to make your landscape appear spring-ready, clean-up provides the most instantaneous results. Rake up old leaves with a sturdy garden rake. I like to also have a small mini rake on hand to more easily reach between shrubs. Add leaves to your compost pile or fill up leaf bags for garbage collection.
While you are working in your landscape beds, take a good look at your shrubs. Prune out branches that may have broken under the weight of snow this winter. Also cut back branches that are rubbing against each other. They are weak and can cause additional problems in the future.
If you can dig a hole, you can plant a tree or shrub. Early spring is a great time to plant arborvitaes for screening, azaleas and rhododendrons for early spring color and many perennials, including hellebores, that are in bloom right now.
Get out there and take a good long look at your lawn. Are there bare spots? Patches of dead grass? If yes, give your lawn a good hard rake and then plant the grass seed that best fits your needs.
Early spring is my favorite time of year for unexpected bursts of beautiful spring color in pastel tones of pink, purple and yellow. Plant ranunculus, pansies, primrose and blooming tulips and daffodils in planters by your front entryway. Create a warm and inviting entrance your family and guests will love.
Now is the time to fertilize your lawn, trees and shrubs. Whenever I can, I prefer to use organic products in my garden.
For lawns, keep it simple. Use a four-step lawn program that provides you with everything you need to grow a healthy lawn from spring through fall. There is a program for every need—whether you are seeding, not seeding or prefer organic only products.
For evergreen shrubs and trees, I am a huge fan of Holly-tone (product), which is an organic, all-natural fertilizer perfect for rhododendrons, azaleas, dogwoods, hydrangea and other acid-loving plants.
For all other trees, shrubs and perennials, I use Plant-tone (product), which is also natural and organic, and provides complete, long-lasting slow-release fertilizer.
Mulch is your yard’s best friend. Not only does it give your landscape beds a finished look, it also helps to retain water for plants and suppress weed growth.
So spring into action. Look for those warm sunny days to begin the process of readying your landscape and garden for the sunnier months ahead.
Karen Musgrave is a certified nursery and landscape professional (CNLP) at Hicks Nurseries in Westbury.