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It’s Spring! It’s Time to Work in the Garden!

April 9, 2014

At long last, Spring! Our gardens need to be both rewarded and rescued after the winter from hell.


Southwood Park volunteer gardeners are busy starting the process in our neighborhood pocket gardens. Here’s what they do, which

is also what you can do in your own gardens:

  •  Remove last year’s foliage from perennials to give new growth a chance to thrive under the sun.
  • ASAP cut ornamental grasses to the crown. If you’d like todivide a grass, now is the time to do it before new growth gets in the way.
  • Remove debris that might be covering up the new growth of peonies, spring bulbs, groundcovers, etc.
  • Apply Preen with fertilizer to feed the plants you want and tokeep unwanted weed seeds from germinating.
  • On evergreens, prune away the browned, winter-damaged bits and encourage healthy new growth with an acid-rich fertilizer like Hollytone.
  • Bulb plants, especially tulips, appreciate a bit of bulb fertilizer while they’re in growth mode; that and deadheading bulb flowers before they go to seed will help them store energy for next year.
  • Give a hard pruning (leave only 10-12” of last years growth) to sub-shrubs, i.e., Annabelle Hydrangea, Caryopteris, Russian Sage, Kerria. These plants flower best on new growth and the pruning encourages that.
  • Prune non-evergreen (woody) shrubs and trees before they leaf out. Remove dead and damaged branches, suckers on branches and at the base, and inward growing branches.
  • Always cut only just above an outward-facing node or branch to encourage outward growth.
  • Apply Bayer Tree and Shrub Insect Control to vibernums, roses,and burning bushes to prevent bug infestations when you see new growth appearing.
  • If you have a healthy Ash tree, keep it that way by applying Bayer Tree and Shrub Insect Control.
  • Lawns definitely need TLC … clearing dead areas to reseed and applying a good fertilizer are definitely in order. If you’re concerned about crabgrass, apply Scott’s Step 1 ASAP. It’s useless after the seeds germinate so hurry up.


Gardening is a great excuse to be outside, enjoy it and the beauty of a lush, healthy landscape.

 — Pat Thomson

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