Gardening Checklist - Spring
- Trees and shrubs can be planted as soon as the ground thaws.
- Prune winter-damaged and cracked branches from trees and shrubs. If these branches are
left to hang, they can further tear and harm or even kill your plant. Branches left to
heal on their own will leave your plant susceptible to insects and disease. The best Rx is
to prune. Do not use a pruning sealant.
- If you did not tend your garden tools this past fall, take a few minutes to get them in
shape for the planting season. Sand handles to shovels and rakes to keep splinters at bay.
Sharpen clippers and shovels so spring chores will be easier on plants and you.
- Wash green algae from walkways, siding, and furniture. Use a mild solution of bleach
and water. Scrub well and rinse. Be careful to keep bleach water away from plants.
- Examine trellises, arbors, and fences for necessary repairs. Clean birdbaths and garden
- Fertilize roses.
- Plant pansies for early-spring cheerfulness. Plant outdoor containers with a
- During the second week of March, plant spinach. On March 17th plant potatoes
and transplant cabbage. Plant bare-rooted asparagus and peas.
- Cut ornamental grasses back to 4-6" and liriope back to 1-2" in early March,
new growth appears.
- Now is the perfect time to apply pre-emergent weed control. The plan is to catch
over-wintering weed seeds before they sprout. Do not use pre-emergent on newly seeded
lawns. Fertilize established lawns if you did not do so last fall. Test soil to see if
lime application is needed. Begin cutting your grass when it is 3" tall.
Use a sharp
lawnmower blade so grass will be cut, not torn.
- Trim and repot houseplants. Use pots that are only one size larger than the pot your
plant is in now. Check plants for insects. Use insecticidal soaps (non-toxic) to
aphids, whiteflies and mites (always consult label before spraying). Start fertilizing
every 2 weeks with a liquid (water soluble) fertilizer.
- Spring blooming bulbs like tulips and daffodils are planted in the fall. Use this
spring to gather information, visiting gardens in bloom, and make a record of varieties
youd like to try. Also, note areas in your yard that could use a little more spring
color and plan to plant bulbs in these places in the fall.
- Start seeds indoors for setting out at the end of April.
- Generally it is ideal to divide fall blooming perennials in the spring. Spring and
summer bloomers are best divided in the fall. If you must do them now, divide
when new growth reaches 3-4".
- Put out plant supports for peonies, lilies, delphiniums and other tall growing
- Weed, mulch and edge garden beds.
- Our average frost-free date is April 20. Spring temperatures can be erratic, however,
so its a good idea to check the weather report each evening for frost warnings.
Remember, it can be hot and sunny during the day and still drop below freezing that night!
- If you need to cover tender plants on nights when temperatures drop, do not cover them
with plastic. Plastic does not let plants breathe and the heat from the early
will cook the very plants you are trying to save. It is best to use old sheets, towels,
newspaper or burlap. Secure the covering so that it will not blow away (bricks work well),
and remove it first thing in the morning. If the plants look droopy, give them some water.
- Prune and fertilize rhododendrons and azaleas immediately after they bloom with
holly-tone or cottonseed meal. Fertilize all other spring blooming shrubs after they
with 10-10-10- fertilizer.
- Slugs can be a big problem to tender, young plants. Slugs feed mainly at night and you can wake up to a denuded garden. There are several easy steps to controlling these garden pests. First, keep the garden and surrounding areas clear of debris, such as lumber, rocks and litter. Slugs need moist places in which to live. Next, handpick this pest from the garden. Use gloves and a jar with a lid. In the evening when slugs are active, pick them off your plants, place them in the jar and throw them away. Finally sprinkle Slug Magic around the base of the plants. This slug killer is safe for pets and wildlife and remains effective even after it rains. Birds love to eat slugs and can actually help diminish their populations in your garden. Toads and frogs also eat these garden pests.
- Continue to sow cool weather vegetables such as lettuce, peas, radishes and spinach
every two weeks.
- Deadhead spring blooming bulbs but leave the foliage until it turns yellow and dies
back. The foliage is gathering food for the bulb and next years blooms depend
this nourishment. To hide this foliage, plant annuals that will grow around and conceal
the yellowing. Do not tie up the dying foliage as this interferes with process
returning the energy back to the bulb.
- Apply Merit granular insecticide to your lawn to control Japanese beetle grubs. Follow
package directions carefully.
- Sow heat tolerant lettuce and spinach seeds every other week to keep a fresh supply of
these vegetables on hand. Weed out plants that have "bolted", grown tall to
flowers and seeds.
- If you are bringing seedlings outside for the first time remember to harden them off.
Strong spring sunlight will burn young plants and changing temperatures will
They must be gradually brought out into the sun and allowed to stay out longer and longer
- Plant heat-loving vegetables such as peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, and basil. Remember
to water them in as you transplant.
- Continue to plant perennials and shrubs but do not forget to water. Spring in this area
has a tendency to be cool and dry.
- Do not bring houseplants outside until nighttime temperatures stabilize at 55-degrees.
Houseplants will need to be hardened off to keep the strong sun from burning
these plants in the shade.
- Fertilize annuals every two weeks. Annuals in pots and baskets will need to be
fertilized every week. If time does not permit regular feedings, use Osmocote
when you plant. Osmocote will feed your plants for an entire season.
- Stake tomatoes early and keep soft, cloth strips near the garden to tie your plants to
- A mailbox mounted on a post in the garden is a great storage place for a trowel,
clippers and small supplies such as strips of cloth. Having these things within easy
will promote their use.