Gardening: Getting Ready for Spring

Cary, NC – It’s still going to be cold outside now and then, but Spring is around the corner. Here are a few tips to get ready for warmer weather in your lawn and garden.

#1 Service Your Lawnmower

Don’t wait until March to figure out your have an oil leak or a dull cutting blade. If you haven’t serviced your lawnmower in two years, it’s safe to figure it could use some fresh oil and a blade sharpening. Take that lawnmower in for service now, before the Spring rush.

#2 Prune Shrubs

Now is the right time to prune many types of evergreen shrubs like Privet and Boxwood. A rosemary shrub can be given a good shearing at this time of year as well as woody deciduous shrubs like burning bush.

#3 Clean Up

Clean up any dead plant material that’s still lingering in the garden. This might include mums, canna lily stalks or coneflower heads. Large grasses like Pampas Grass and Zebra Grass can be given a haircut.

Rake off dead leaves and twigs from the garden bed. Many garden pests find shelter during the winter under dead plant material. Get rid of it now to have a healthier garden this year.

#4 Do a Little Weeding

When the garden bed is exposed, check for any pernicious plants or weeds. In my mind, pernicious plants are sold at the garden store and weeds occur naturally.

An example of a pernicious plant in my garden is Vinca. Once upon a time, somebody planted Vinca in our front garden bed and it was everywhere in the blink of an eye. After a massive effort, we ripped out most of the Vinca, but a few survivors still lurk around tree roots and shrubs. Tear out all the weeds you can find right now while they are exposed and vulnerable.

#5 Mulch!

Now that the garden bed is clear of weeds, spread on a layer of mulch. It doesn’t have to be too thick at this time of year in flower or vegetable beds – really just enough to prevent the weed and tree seeds that will soon be flying through the air from taking root. You can add more mulch as the season progresses and your flowers emerge from the ground.

Now is the time to prepare for the rush of Spring, when everything blooms. Take advantage of a mild day to get your lawn and garden organized for the return of the growing season.

Story and photos by Hal Goodtree. The Gardening column on CaryCitizen is sponsored by Garden Supply Company on Old Apex Road in Cary.