To enjoy a beautiful, tidy and pleasant garden every day, it is necessary to do a spring gardening session — even more, depending on your time and physical pace. But how do you prepare your garden in spring, knowing that March, April and June are the most important months of the year for vegetation?
Your garden needs help to recover and to show its beauty. So, it’s time to stock up on dedicated gardening stores, take the tools out of the shed and get to work. Here are some tips to make your spring garden green and beautiful when the season reaches its peak.
Don’t wait until May to take care of the garden
If your garden has suffered from frost on cold winter days or you have neglected to take care of it in autumn (collecting leaves, cutting trees, etc.), start gardening without delay. Specialists recommend not waiting until May to do all the work at once: cleaning, collecting leaves, cutting, planting, etc. Do everything before sowing the lawn, as it can be damaged by gardening. Especially don’t wait until May, because the plants are already growing and you risk damaging them.
Test your garden soil
Experts recommend that you test your garden soil every 3–5 years to see what nutrients or organic materials it needs and from which it has too much. You may find, for example, that your soil has a very high phosphorus content, so it is best to avoid adding fertilizers that contain this element.
Or you may find that your soil is naturally alkaline, so you need to add aluminum sulfate around the shrubs and plant acid-loving perennials, such as hydrangeas, magnolias, camellias, daffodils or rhododendrons.
Before spring, resume cutting work
From the end of February — the beginning of March, outside the frost period, you can resume cutting the bushes, the hedge and the roses in your garden. These works are recommended before the weather really calms down, otherwise the vegetation would turn green again. To get effective results, you have to think about the future, to design how you want the plants to look in six months. Also, cut unnecessary and dry branches.
From the first days of spring, observe the plants
When spring comes, you can check if what you planted or transferred at the beginning of the autumn-winter season is growing properly and if the shrubs, for example, have solidified and branched their roots as expected. If not, with the growth of the branches and the explosion of the foliage, they will bend or simply look bad.
When spring comes, plant perennials
In early spring, when the first shoots of green grass are just beginning to appear, remove and transplant all perennials that have exceeded their allotted space or have grown large enough to be divided, if you wish.
In most cases, it is best to replant and move the perennials in the opposite season to the one in which they bloomed. This means that in summer and autumn you take care of the perennials that bloom in spring, and in spring those that bloom in autumn (chrysanthemums, lobelia, anemones, etc.). This measure avoids disrupting their flowering cycle.
Green shrubs can be moved in early spring, before new shoots appear, or in early fall, to give them enough time to restore their roots before winter. Hardwood shrubs can be moved almost whenever they are not in bloom, and the weather is mild, but generally spring and fall are the preferred seasons for transplanting. If you move them while they are dormant, there will be less stress applied to the plants and they will be more likely to get back in shape quickly.
Lawn: aerate the garden in March-April
When the vegetation wakes up, in March-April, aeration and scarification works are required in the lawn area. With the appropriate equipment (eg, hand scarifier, rake, fork scraper), it is recommended to remove the moss from the lawn to allow the lawn to breathe. Overseeding should complete the scarification, especially if you find that there are parts left in which the lawn has become thinner. To do this, it is recommended to spread about 10–15 g of seeds / sqm.
It is important to resume mowing as soon as the lawn begins to grow again. For the first cut, the mower must be set high enough to avoid clogging. You can then lower the cutting height.
Back in the garden: put fertilizer in the spring
Either on the lawn or in the furrows, you can use a small addition of fertilizer in your garden to stimulate the recovery of plants, especially on lawns and shrubs. In this way you help your plants and shrubs to bloom faster. In spring, opt for a mineral fertilizer (as opposed to organic fall fertilizer).
Resume garden irrigation
In the spring, there is also an opportunity to restart automatic irrigation or to think about watering the garden once a week, depending on rainfall. If you have an automatic irrigation system, don’t forget to check the installation carefully to avoid leaks and unpleasant surprises.
If you have a vegetable garden, you can plant varieties (beets, potatoes, salad) from January to March to enjoy spring. In March, sowing can be done as soon as we get out of the frost period. In other words, you can use a spade to plant in the garden what was sown in the greenhouse during the winter: radishes, onions, peas or carrots, to taste in May.
Also, spring is the time to take advantage to clean your vegetable garden, aerate the soil, remove weeds, cut dead or damaged branches. You can also put a little natural fertilizer between the furrows to help it grow beautifully in the summer.
Be prepared to cover if there are frost temperatures in the forecast
If you are gardening in an area where late spring frosts are a possibility, be prepared to cover plants that have buds or leaves, if a drastic cooling of the weather is foreseen. If the buds have not yet started to open, there is no need for this operation.
Old textiles that have been downgraded to the pile of rags are a good option, and professional coatings are also available for purchase. Do not cover young plants with plastic wrap or tarpaulins. The plastic that touches the buds and the new foliage will increase the effect of the frost, instead of attenuating it.