Once the ground thaws and soil can be worked, you can:
~ Rake up debri such sticks, leaves, dead grass, etc.
~ Apply a 1/4 inch layer of compost to the soil surface. Particulalry important for lawns with poor soil conditions.
~ Apply lime (do a quick pH test to be sure). Use calcidic (calcium rich) lime for best results.
~ Apply slow release organic fertilizer, such as Organica Step 1
~ Apply grass seed to fill any bare areas before the weeds do
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In the garden
~ Walk through your gardens and inspect for damage and broken branches on trees and shrubs by snow loads. Some repairs can be made and some branches may need to be removed. Consult us for more information, photos can be helpful, but print them out on large paper so we can see them better.
~ Look at your plants and the ground for signs of animal damage. Apply repellents for moles & voles and deer as needed. Deer are usually most hungry this time of the year.
~ Cut back grasses & soft tissue perennials. Both should be cut as close to the ground as possible. This removes all the dead tissue killed by the winter cold. Hand pruners works well for smaller plants and bigger thicker plants such as grasses may require electric or gas powered hedge trimmers. See here for quick “how to” on cutting back grasses.
~ Cut back woody perennials such as Catmint, Russian Sage, Montauk Daisies, Agastache, and others. They should be cut back hard but you can leave several inches of last years woody stems. Try leaving the giving the stems a rounded shape. This will ensure when the plant begins growing, the dead tissue is removed and it will grow back with a nice even rounded shape.
~ Rose bushes (not climbers), Butterfly Bushes, Caryopteris can be cut back hard (usually 18-24″ from the ground) in a rounded shape.�
~ Transplant overgrown trees, shrubs and later flowering perennials while they are still dormant. Most transplanting can be done in early spring, but avoid early spring flowering plants, unless you are willing to sacrifice the flowers for this season.
~ Weed & rake gardens.
~ Edge gardens along grass lines with an edger tool. Nice deep edges keep the lawn from running into the garden and improves aesthetics by giving garden edges clean crisp lines.
~Apply a pre-emergent such corn gluten or our new bio-degradable weed fabric to help prevent weeds.
~ Mulch all gardens. It is easier to mulch gardens before perennials start popping up and weeds start germinating. If any weeds have germinated or wintered in the garden remove them first, even the small ones, becuase they will pop through the mulch. Dark organic mulch is best for growing healthy plants.
~ After a long winter, plant much needed color! Pansies, Osteospemum, Nemesia and others thrive in cool weather. Watch the weather forcats, if the temps dip below 32 degrees, cover them with a blanket just bring in containers at night.
~ Add compost or manure to the vegetable garden to renew nutrients.
~ Make a plan for your garden, most seed packages have loads of information about timing and spacing.
~ Cold season crops such as lettuce, spinach, peas and more can be planted or seeded directly into the garden. Some warm season veggies such as tomatos, cukes and peppers can be started indoors to get a jump start on spring. Again consult the seed packages for timing.