In this season everything needs doing at once:
Pull that weed -- is that a weed?
Admire that flower -- what flower is that?
Stroke lush new tree leaves -- is it growing okay, should I be
Start a new garden -- can I do it without over-doing?
We all need answers but there's not a minute to spare.
Brief is beautiful
Below, a list of our best and briefest spring tips...
interrupted by beautiful distractions, because this article is just
like being "out there" in spring!
The tips run along the left side of this article, beauty on the
right. All our tips are in order as they came to us in the thick of
the spring rush.
This emerging bloodroot
(Sanguinaria canadensis) is
cuddled by it's own leaf and an old solomon seal
1. Garden science is right: Don't walk on wet soil!
Yet time flies in spring. Out early, we wear snowshoes
to cut down butterfly bush & rake.
sibirica) contains every shade of blue.
Such a beauty!
2. One cut a year keeps a bush small, healthy, colorful:
In early spring cut so it's 6-12" smaller than you want it.
Clip out thick bare stubs.
Even a thug like Canada thistle
(Cirsium arvense) can be
beautiful in spring. Admire it, briefly, then dig it OUT!
3. Fertilizer's a must for lawn. Aeration's a must for
too. Can't afford both? Core aerate -- lawn responds to it
as if fertilized.
Box elder (Acer
negundo) is considered a weedy,
messy tree. Nonetheless, it's impressive in spring.
4. Fertilizer is like vitamins: Can't cause growth,
just strengthen it. It's most needed during growth
spurts. Houseplants need it in April!
5. Clear the lawn but in all beds: Leave the leaves!
Even inches deep.
Must move them? After, put them back.
May be most important spring act.
The sun highlights this beech
(Fagus grandifolia). Ahh!
6. It's Instant-answer Saturday, 4/26/14
from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at
Send ?s, photos. Get an answer right back.
Join us. Tell your friends.
The lusicious foliage of spring
isn't just for us to view...
Some things improve with
Maiden grass (Miscanthus) seeds...
...and a cattail harboring
7. Starting seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before plant-out time?
You need a grow light for 3-5 weeks.
Any fluorescent lamp will do, 3" above plants.
8. Snow plows are tough on irrigation systems.
Check now. Repair them early
when the digging is less disruptive to plants.
Are the earliest tulips (here, a
9. Liquid fertilizer and weed control
are wasted on cold soil. Stop - or fire!-
the lawn care company that sprays icy lawn.
Jewel-like dew in the center of
this lupine leaf (above).
A drop seems to swirl around in the tulip foliage
10. Soil's still wet, feels cold? Don't walk on lawn or
Wait a bit, stay in: Sow seeds. Clean tools. Cut back and
Small early, beautiful bulbs. Puschkinia
glory of the snow (Chionodoxa) below.
11. Planting trees is about hope, not blind faith.
You can judge by growth rate how a new tree is doing.
We show you: GardenAtoZ.com Search CHECK TREE
12. Prefer leaf-free planting beds? For pete's sake
don't use a blower. That can thwart tender spring growth's one
mission: To fill with water!
13. Voles, moles: two different varmints. V for
vegetarian! Killing grubs won't discourage voles.
Spring is worst time to kill grubs, anyway!
Cornelian cherry (Cornus
mas), small tree,
large shrub, earlier and perhaps more
dependable than a forsythia.
14. Sharp clippers are worth the price. Dull and gap jawed
means more effort, more hand injuries, slower work,
mauled wood. Buy better. Sharpen.
15. When it's time to cut down bushes and ornamental
grasses, first wrap them tight with strong, biodegradable
Pre-bundle, then cut!
Right: Lenten rose
16. Spring: Always weed the edges first. Ignore big weeds in
middle of beds. Chase roots that have run into the garden. All
weeds start on edge.
17. Going to yank tops off of weeds? As much good to tether a goat
to graze there! Get a fork, instead, to loosen the soil to remove
all the roots.
Plain old lilac: captivating as it breaks bud.
18. No matter how careful you are, building a deck,
fence or walk can ruin nearby plantings. Always do
hard structure work first, plant later.
19. Want garden in every inch? Sure! But don't undermine
driveway, patio, pavers or road: Stop digging 12" away from the
edge. Let plants lap.
Above: Marsh marigold
Below: Piqsqueak leaf (Bergenia cordifolia).
20. Lawns love air even more than fertilizer.
Golf shoe aerators are worthless. Spend the money to
chip in with neighbors, rent a core aerator.
...or aerate with a garden fork.
More photos coming each day of April. Perhaps you've seen this
article a-building on Facebook GardenAtoZ!
21. New tree with cracks or slow/small growth? Sorry! Too many
strikes against. Plant new. Unwrap the roots and set the flare at
22. Younger perennials are faster, sturdier, better blooming,
resist disease/insects. Divide to renew. Replant only 25%. Never
replant old bits.
23. Grubs are old, don't die easily, and their damage is done by
spring. Beef up lawn rather than buy grub killer in spring. Late
summer is kill time!
24. Design for leaf, then flower. Even before bloom and in lulls
red foliage is great near green or gray, and ferniness a joy near
big and bold.
As much glory in a rotted ash stump
as in a bloodroot flower (Sanguisorba