I’m still in awe of the sunny spring break weather. April kind of caught me by surprise this year. I blinked and my tulips were already up and open and my Chionodoxa were in their full glory under the Japanese maple.
I know you are all excited and revving up your gardening engines to begin the season. Remember to pace yourself and to stop and smell the spring flowers…they are only here for a short time. Here is your list:
You can aerate and topdress if you have any lumpy problem areas like my entire backyard. Mow…make sure you start the season off with fresh gas and a sharp mowing blade! If you have a mulching mower…so much the better.
Fertilizers and moss controls can also be applied as needed. You need a slightly warmer temp and a couple days of dry weather to apply Moss control…so, basically sometime around August should do (kidding).
Weed, weed, and topdress. You can also fertilize most of your shrubs and perennials as well at this time. Topdressing with compost or manures for your non-acid loving plants such as roses and fruit trees and topdressing with peat, a compost containing tea and coffee grounds or pine needles or a composted mulch for acid loving plants such as Rhododendrons or Blueberries.
You can still do a light pruning on many shrubs if they have a lot of crossing or rubbing or broken branches or are overgrowing their space. You can divide up and move many shrubs and perennials at this time and think about sharing the perennial bounty. Your neighbours will love you and if you are my neighbour I would be really happy and would possibly trade plants for chocolate chip cookies.
Don’t forget to fertilize and clear a tree circle and topdress with well rotted manures or compost. You can apply lime around the base of fruit trees if you haven’t already. You can clean up any damaged branches. It’s a great time to plant new but do your homework. The right tree in the right place will save you a world of headaches.
Oh and the number one killer of new trees is being planted too deeply. You can watch a how to plant video on our website or come in and we can help you with any planting information you need.
Seeds and Summer Bulbs
There are many things you can direct sow and plant at this time. I absolutely love buying seeds, though I do need to follow up with the planting bit. Its not too late to seed your tomatoes either. But the peas and the lettuce can go in the ground with some remay row cover if you like. I would still hold off planting the Dahlias and Glads till the end of the month or once the ground isn’t so waterlogged.
Add new oxygenators once it warms up a bit. You will want 75 % surface coverage to prevent hair algae. You can use pond lilies as well as some floating oxygenators such as frog bit and water hyacinth. The 75% rule is even true if you have a water garden in a pot on your deck. Pond plants will be in stock soon...
You can tidy up the spent blossoms of your daffodils and tulips, but don’t cut the leaves. They are building up reserves for next year’s blooms. Prices are right to get potted bulbs if you didn’t plant any last fall.
The selection is starting to build towards mid month and if you have a coldframe or greenhouse you can go crazy. For the rest of us mortals, waiting till the weather warms up a bit is the best option followed by clearing out a spot close to the house under the eves and investing in some remay crop cover (newspaper will do in a pinch) for when we can help ourselves and buy stuff anyway.
Oh, did I mention WEED. Think of it as horticultural yoga.