April showers bring May flowers.
That is so true. We have all had a long hard winter. Spring is finally here! Time to get outside in your gardens and stir things up. Grab your garden equipment and see what condition they are in.
Care for Gardening Tools
It’s time to sharpen and clean your pruners. Clean with 70% alcohol. Wet a rag with alcohol and wipe the gardening tools down. If you have any rust remove it with a piece of steel wool. You can easily sharpen your pruning shears at home with a medium or coarse diamond hand file. Use the file to sharpen the cutting blade of the shears. Once the shears are sharpened, coat them in linseed oil to prevent rust.
The Three D’s of pruning are: Dead, diseased or damaged wood. Maintain plant health by removing dead, diseased, damaged, thin, weak, and branches that are growing inward, cross each other or interface with each other. Cut at least 1 inch below the damaged area.
Spring is the time to do most of your pruning, but the question is, which part of spring? Prune deciduous trees just before they leaf out. Prune shrubs that don’t flower in spring, including rose of Sharon, crape myrtle, hardy hibiscus, butterfly bush, and Peegee hydrangea. Ideally wait to prune summer bloomers until all danger of frost has passed.
Ornamental flowering shrubs like rhododendrons, lilacs, forsythias and viburnums should be pruned after they flower. Do not prune more than one third of the canopy in one season; it will stress the plant. When cutting limbs and branches try not to leave any stubs more than an inch long or so.
Spring Clean Your Garden
Wait until the temperatures are consistently in the 50s F (10-15 C) before beginning your garden clean up. Cut perennials back in spring before new growth emerges from ground level.
Garden Clean-Up List:
- Prune shrubs
- Remove winter mulch
- Brush back leaves on top of the plants
- Pull any dead growth from perennials
- Clean up your vegetable beds
- Pull the weeds
- Edge your garden beds