The garden is waking up, and you're in charge! It's time to plant, prune, prepare beds, and care for your lawn.
Check for signs of growth.
Did you remember to plant snow crocus last fall? If not, cut forsythia or magnolia branches to bring inside for forcing to get a dose of early spring color.
Learn how to force branches into bloom.
Prep the beds.
Remove winter mulch or, if well composted, work into the top layer of the soil. Work in some leaf mold or well-rotted manure, too.
Now is the time to trim fruit trees if you didn't prune in winter. Prune before buds begin to break into bloom or you'll stress the tree and get a tiny crop (or possibly none).
Perform basic maintenance.
Check stonework for frost heaves. Check and clean the deck now so you don't have to do it later; make any repairs.
Start seeds indoors.
You've spent the winter reading seed and plant catalogs, so try some.
Learn more about seed-starting.
Hardy vegetables, such as onions, potatoes, artichokes, and some lettuces, should be planted now.
See what other veggies do best in cool weather.
Before plants have begun spring growth is a good time to divide many perennials. Share some divisions with your friends this year.
Build new flower beds.
This year, install complementary shrubs offering blooms throughout the season.
See which shburs flower the most in the summer.
Stop feeding the birds.
Take down and clean feeders, put them away until fall.
Enjoy the spring show.
Resolve to plant more spring-flowering bulbs next fall.
Plant hardy annuals.
Sow seeds outdoors or transplant seedlings.
If you mulch now, you'll have next-to-no weeding come summer.
Learn more about the different varieties of mulch.
-Gardeners often prune trees and shrubs in winter, and for many woody plants, this makes the most sense, but for spring flowering plants, the best time is right after they flower. That's because they form their flower beds on summer growth and winter pruning would eliminate much of the spring bloom. Forsythia is a good example. After it's done blooming, eliminate branches that are too large by clipping them off near the ground or find their branching point like this or make your cut there. Lilac is another example. This plant is getting too tall. So, I'll cut this entire branch off at the base. That will open up the plant so this young shoots can grow and take its place, but with a much smaller, tidier form. These guidelines apply to other spring bloomers as well such as magnolia, Weigela and mock orange, azaleas, and rhododendrons.
-Daylilies are one of the easiest perennials you can grow. They are also one of the most budget friendly. A 2-foot clump can be divided into as many as 10 plants that you can either expand your garden with or share with your friends. To pick up daylily clump, take a garden spade with a nice deep sharp blade. Stick it in to the ground around the perimeter of the plant and get as much of the root ball as possible. Be sure to dig out the entire plant. Loosen the root mass as you go. Use your spade as a lever and top root ball out of the ground. Cut a large clump in half to make it easier to lift. Sit the clumps in a wheelbarrow or on a tarp to confine the mess. Separate each clump into several small plants with the sharp garden knife. Make sure each division has a set of leaves and roots. Place just one of the divisions back in the hole. Use your spade to make sure it's at the same depth they grow before. Improve your garden soil by mixing lots of compost. Shovel it into the hole around the plant. Press the soil down with your hands. Spread mulch around the plant. This will help keep the soil moist and shade out weeds. Water the planting area. Regular watering the first season will help establish the roots. What's next expand your garden at no cost with the other divisions or share them with friends.