Spring stirs the soul of every Gardner. We go outside and begin to assess our landscape for the upcoming year. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your landscape in 2023.
Step 1. Manage Your Weeds.
Coming out of winter, as soil thaws and spring rains occur, the soil becomes soft and moist. These two factors provide the perfect environment for managing weeds. Often weeds that germinated in the fall and winter are shallow-rooted and easy to remove. In addition, any weeds that were not visible last year because of foliage growth will now be visible. These can also be removed easily in moist soil.
Sometimes a soil knife is needed to remove weeds that are deeply rooted. We highly recommend purchasing a soil knife as it has many other uses. After weeding, you should apply a pre-emergent weed control such as preen. This type of product will prevent many weeds from germinating for the remainder of the year.
Step 2. Cut back ornamental grasses and perennials.
Doing this before new growth begins is best. In addition, to cutting back, some perennials you can also divide and transplant at this time. As a rule of thumb, if the perennial blooms in late summer or fall, it should be divided in spring. Sedum is an example. If the perennial flowers in spring or early summer, they should be divided in the fall. Salvia is another example. Moving and dividing your plants can truly enhance your landscape.
3. Plant new shrubs.
April is a great time to plant small shrubs, new perennials, and early season annuals. We recommend that you assess your existing plants to see if any need replacing. Often, a plant not doing well will perform much better in another location in your garden. Sometimes the existing plant needs to be replaced by a hardier specimen. The abundant soil moisture and cooler temperatures make this a great time to do some planting. Even the smallest change or addition can create amazing results in your landscape.
Step 4. Define Your Edging
Edging is the next step in getting the landscape ready. Edging is an art. The curves and shapes defined by a nice deep edge add lasting beauty to any landscape. It also provides a sharp delineation between the planting bed and the grass. Additionally, edging keeps grass out of the beds and helps keep plants in the bed. Should your bed need to be extended, you can accomplish this through edging. Lastly, a deep edge can be maintained during weekly mowing to ensure a clean, crisp edge.
5. Mulch Your Beds.
After all the weeding, dividing, planting, and edging is complete, the final step is to mulch your beds. A natural wood bark mulch is best as it provides organic matter to the soil as it decays. In addition, a 2” layer of mulch helps to conserve moisture keeping your plants looking their best. The mulch also deters existing weed growth and helps prevent weed seeds from germinating. A fresh layer of mulch creates a beautiful contrast to the green grass of spring.