Spring is finally here! Here are some gardening tips to get your landscape ready.
Take care of your annuals. Deadhead (cut back) spent flowers—but allow foliage of hardy bulbs to yellow and fade before cutting them back. Don’t worry that the shoots peeking out of the ground in early spring will be damaged by cold: bulbs such as daffodils are extremely resistant to frost damage. Plant summer annuals after the threat of frost has passed, which is about April 15 in North Georgia.
Clean around shrubs and trees. Leaves and mulch that accumulate at the base of plants can trap moisture, which leads to harmful root rot. Pull mulch and leaves away from the trunks of established plants and shrubs, and leave a few inches between trunk and mulch. Rake out old leaves from your azaleas and roses, because last year’s diseases can harbor in the dead leaves. See this story to learn the best way to use mulch.
Fertilize. Give your plants a boost with a slow-release fertilizer. Fertilize winter annuals every 6 weeks (during warm spells only) with a liquid fertilizer, such as organic fish emulsion. Use a slow-release fertilizer for perennials, shrubs, and trees that need it.
Consider a soil test. How much fertilizer is enough? Your local extension agency can tell you with a soil test—you just have to send soil samples (cost: about $8). Soil tests also can improve garden trouble spots: send in soil samples from the problem area to learn which nutrients you need to add. Follow the links to learn more about soil testing in Georgia and how to collect soil samples.
Practice watering basics. Water outside when air temperatures are above 40 F. First check the root ball: if it is wet, do not water. Apply water at mid-day, so it will soak in before possible freezing at night. Direct water to the roots, not the leaves. Apply enough water to wet the roots thoroughly—shallow watering is detrimental. If you have an irrigation system, get it checked now before the irrigation company gets too busy. For more about irrigation, see our story from the summer.
Water stressed-out plants more. Not all plants need the same amount of water. For instance, plants that get reflected heat from buildings, walls, and fences will need more water. The soil around plants in windy sites will dry out faster and will need extra water.
Prune only if you have to. Early spring is the time to prune. However, most plants do NOT need to be pruned. Pruning creates wounds that can attract insects and infection. Pruning also encourages growth, which means more pruning later. Only prune if:
- The plant has diseased, dead, or broken limbs.
- The limbs may damage property.
- The plant is too large for the site.
- You like formal shapes.
- The plant is overgrown with suckers (skinny, vertical growths).
- The plant needs to be renewed (cut back close to the ground).
Show some love to your house plants. After the long winter, house plants will need some attention, too. Follow this link to learn more: house plants.
We’re here to help! Contact Art of Stone for all your landscaping needs