Spring Gardening

spring-gardeningWhat better way to add beauty around your home than with attractive landscaping. Flowers, trees and shrubs add interest to your yard and can be fun to take care of. Now that spring is here, it’s a perfect time to clean up your garden and add new plants to your beds. Here are some tips to help you start and maintain your garden.

Prepare Your Bed – Remove dead annual plants and prune back perennials from the prior season, particularly if they are diseased or in poor condition. Click here to learn about which perennials to prune back in the spring. Be sure to clean up the dirt in the bed, removing any weeds, leaves, branches or other debris.

Plant According to Your Hardiness Zone – Knowing what zone you live in is a great way to determine what and when to plant in your garden. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has defined 11 plant hardiness zones based on temperatures and rainfall. Find Your Zone. It’s best to plant during the frost-free period; however, the optimal time to plant depends on the region you live in.

Consider Plant Lighting Requirements – Not all plants require the same level of sun exposure. Be sure to assess the amount of sunlight your beds get at different times of day. Some plants prefer part sun and may even have a preference for morning sun, while others are shade loving. Most colorful annuals require full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight) to produce consistent blooms.

Add a Variety of Plants – You may be tempted to plant a row of the same flower in your bed, but using plants of varying height and color can add more interest in your garden. You may even decide to plant both annuals and perennials. That way, when the annuals die off, there will still be plants in your beds to fill in the space. Many perennials are hardy all year long.

Feed Your Plants – Although plants look perfect when you bring them home from the nursery or garden center, you’ll need to give them the proper amount of water and fertilizer to keep them growing strong. Some plants are drought tolerant, so you may want to take that into consideration when determining their location. Succulents and other plants, like azaleas and roses, require different soil and fertilizer. Be sure to check the label to see what will work best.

Prune Regularly – Some flowers and shrubs need to be pruned often to keep them looking their best. For instance, petunias tend to produce long, trailing flowers. Frequent pruning will encourage broader growth patterns. In addition, shrubs have different growth rates. Some may require more frequent pruning to keep them under control.

Treat Diseases, Bugs or Fungus – Don’t forget to check for problems with your plants. Remove leaves and stems with fungus, like leaf spots or powdery mildew, to prevent spreading to new growth or surrounding plants. If bugs are the problem, you’ll need to treat the problem organically or with a pesticide before they damage your plants. If you’re unsure what is wrong with your plant, you can take a leave to a local nursery to help you diagnose the problem and offer a good solution.

Enjoy Your Landscaping – Once your garden is established, enjoy all your lush surroundings. You’ll find it even attracts birds, butterflies and other beautiful insects to your garden.