If you haven’t already done so, start planning this year’s gardening projects. Our calendar fills up fast!
Now’s the time to selectively prune trees and some shrubs. Bringing a chipper onto your property now when the ground is frozen makes sense.
Most deer repellents last in the environment for a maximum of 6 weeks. Now’s the time to re-apply deer repellents on any day above 40 degrees.
In winters where there hasn’t been a lot of snow, water newly planted trees and shrubs any day the temperature is above 40 degrees. You will be rewarded with healthier plants in spring.
Re-apply deer sprays and anti-desiccants.
Clean up garden areas, remove leaves, cut back any plants that were not cut back last fall. Remove winter damaged branches and foliage.
Cutback ornamental grasses 4-6” from ground before new growth begins.
Apply an organic slow release fertilizer to trees, shrubs and perennials prior to bud break.
Turn over old mulch, re-mulch and edge garden beds which need it.
Now is the time to divide ornamental grasses.
Continue spring cleanup of lawn and gardens.
Set out plant supports for top heavy perennials to allow plants to grow through them.
Apply pre-emergent weed control to plant beds if you’ve had past weed problems.
Apply crabgrass control to lawns if you had a problem last year. Apply first application when Forsythia are in bloom. Ultimately the best defense against weeds is a thick, healthy lawn. Look into slice seeding or core aerating in August.
Plant annuals after the last expected frost, usually the last week of May. If you plant annuals any earlier, be sure to have sheets or burlap handy to protect plants from frost.
Prune spring flowering shrubs right after flowering before next years flower buds form.
Perennials that are too tall for their space or tend to flop over mid season can be cut back to 6”. Doing this will decrease the overall size of the plant and push back bloom time by 2-3 weeks.
Deadhead spent flowers to promote re-blooming.
Water plants not receiving at least 1” of water per week. Water deeply and thoroughly. Avoid light sprinkling. Indication of a plant needing water includes drooping or curling leaves, burnt leaf edges, needle or leaf loss. Scrape away the mulch and place your hand on the soil. If it feels cool, there is most likely sufficient moisture in the soil. If the soil doesn’t feel cool to the touch it’s time to take out the hoses.
It’s okay to prune back most perennials at any time. By pruning after bloom, you’ll end up having a tidy plant for the rest of the season. Doing so might even encourage a second bloom. You can also cut back fall blooming perennials by 1/3 to prevent staking.
Trim evergreens such as yews, hemlocks and boxwood. Shearing stimulates new growth and will create a denser shrub. Remember to shear hedges so the base of the hedge is slightly wider than the top. This will allow sunlight to reach the hedge evenly.
Now is the most beneficial time to reseed damaged turf or install turf areas.
You can transplant and divide most perennials if the plant is given adequate water.
Turn over mulch in beds to prevent artillery fungus.
Start planting spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils.
Apply winter mulch around tender plants before first frost.
A great time to complete a final weeding of your perennial bed is after your perennials have died back to the ground.
Water broad leaved evergreens every two weeks until the ground is frozen. In the past we’ve seen major desiccation damage to broad leaved evergreens like Holly and Boxwood because they had less than adequate moisture before the ground froze.
Protect your broad leaved evergreens from winter desiccation by applying an anti-transpirant.
Begin spraying plant material prone to deer browsing with a repellent. Repellex is a good choice.
Wrap any plant prone to snow or animal damage with netting/burlap.
Cut back perennials if they are not going to provide winter interest.
Bring in garden hoses.
Put a gas stabilizer in power equipment and run for 10 minutes or run the tank dry. Change spark plug, oil and filters.
Re-apply deer repellents and anti-transpirants every 2 months when temperatures are above 40 degrees.