Landscaping & Gardening

Early Spring Garden Prep Tips


Dig this weather right? No wait, go dig in this weather, right? The current weather has really thrown the plant schedule off this year. The plants are likely to bloom out of sync with their pollinators and so are the gardeners that want to plant them. We understand that temperatures in the 70’s in March may feel great, but it could be a trap, getting us to think that we can plant out non-dormant plants into our gardens and wild areas only to have the regularly scheduled frosts and snows return and wipeout all our plants. So we want to caution all of you to be careful when choosing which plants to go to the yard with before safer regular weather takes hold.

To be sure, this spring is not playing by the normal routine of cold weather then a gradual warming, and it is starting to show in the woods and gardens all over the region. Plants and insects that we normally don’t see until later April are out and growing. Now that they are out does not mean that they will need your help with frosts or other inclement weather. Plants have been at this for a while and can likely handle it themselves. However, if you are concerned, then tenting important plants to you is an option but not a necessity. Piling leaves or adding mulch may do far better for these early plants than running around the yard with a blanket every night. Natives only need the ability to protect themselves in your spaces, not overprotection from others

Here is our recommended “to do’s” in the garden for early spring:

  1. Start your yard work with removing invasive plants! Many invasive species, such as Amur Honeysuckle and Common Buckthorn are already leafing out, making them easy to identify this time of year.  So get out the spade and start digging! Need some ideas for replacements? Check out our Native Alternative suggestions.
  1. Plant trees and shrubs. Early spring is an excellent time to plant trees and shrubs.  The spring rains and the warming soil temperatures give plants a jump start on root development just as they are getting ready to leaf out for spring.  We start shipping trees and shrubs at the end of March or early April so order yours now!
  1. Mulching and minimal clean-up. Mulching early spring can help protect plants’ roots from extreme temperature fluctuations, plus it gives you a jump start on maintenance before your plants really take off!  Be sure to keep trimming and debris clean-up to a minimum.  Many beneficial insects and crucial pollinators are still using stems and leaf piles as winter hibernation beds!
  1. Start planning for perennials! Get out the sketch book and start planning for new beds, additions to existing gardens or just your top 5 must haves for the year!  Planning before planting season hits will prevent the frantic “Just get something in!” mentality that comes when the timing is right and we aren’t quite prepared.  Perennials start shipping in May, so get planning and order now so you have what you need when the right time does come.