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Winter is finally over! (What should you do to your garden)

Winter is finally coming to an end and the warmer days of spring are right at our doorstep. The beginning of spring marks the beginning of preparing your garden to thrive and look outstanding for the coming year. Spring clean-up of your gardens is rarely time consuming for your average homeowner and can be quite an enjoyable activity. For those who are not aware of the spring maintenance your gardens need to look their best all year, here’s a quick list to help you in your spring gardening.

Firstly, you should remove any annuals you had in your garden last year that were not removed the previous fall as they will not return this coming year. Also, you should remove the foliage of herbaceous perennials. These are the perennials that above ground are predominantly leaves and stalks like Hosta’s or Daylilies. The removed plant material can be saved as compost to reintroduce into your garden if you wish. This is also the perfect time to divide and transplant perennials as they will have the whole season to recover.

Grasses can be trimmed back at anytime in the spring or fall however many do well to be left till the spring so they have the blades for some protection in the winter. With grasses simply cut them back to several inches above the soil and the cuttings may also be used as compost for your garden as well. This quick video will show you how to prune back herbaceous perennials and grasses.

Woody perennials should be cut back in the spring as well. Many of these plants only will flower on new growth therefore without pruning the plant will not look nearly as spectacular as its potential entails. These should not be pruned till after the last frost date as it will decrease the plants chances of survival. These perennials should be pruned once you can see the formation of new growth on the plant. Prune the branches of the plant back typically not taking more than a third of the length of any branch off. Have the last bud left on the shrub facing out from the plant. This will help with the shape of the plant and also help light enter into the middle of the plant encouraging growth throughout the entirety of the plant. Here's a quick video on pruning to help anyone not perfectly comfortable with how to prune their shrubs and trees in their yard.

Depending on the trees in your yard you may have to prune them in the springtime however you should double check and know the correct pruning times for each of the trees in your yard. Some trees create there buds the previous year and a spring pruning would remove this year’s flowers. A good rule of thumb is to prune spring flowering trees once their flowers have faded and to prune summer and fall flowering trees in the dormant season (winter to early spring).

For plants that you suspect may have died or seem to have had a hard winter it is a good idea to wait until May to replace them many plants remain dormant till then and many plants will bounce back given an appropriate amount of time.

Also, it is a good idea particularly in drier springs to wash any salt out of gardens that are close to the road or your walkways. The accumulated salt can stunt plant growth and performance for the following year. Soaking those gardens with a few inches of water should be enough to remove the salt from the layers of soil around the plants roots.Finally, spring is a good time for any soil improvements you wish to do. You can add compost and or fertilizer to your garden to give your plants that extra boost and help them be vibrant for the whole year.

Daniel Hogenbirk

Landscape Foreman

Birk’s Landscaping Inc.

(905) 404-0602

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