Spring Clean-up – More Than a Pretty Space
My annual quandary is when to get my hands back into the garden. If done too early, there’s the risk of a hard frost injuring young shoots. It’s a lot easier to clean before the plants have grown, getting in the way of one’s rake and pruners. No doubt about it, though: spring is here! Everything is greening and time for cleaning.
Spring cleaning about more than esthetics, though. Cleaning the dead debris helps warm the ground and allows plants to access the sun. It also removes the mold and diseased bits, allows air to circulate and helps the leaves exchange gas. It offers a chance to look things over, remove any dead plants, divide the ones that are outgrowning their space, check on mulch depth, and pull weeds when they are nice and young. (I have a hypothesis that dandelions are easier to pull in early spring when they are putting their root reserves into new leaves – but maybe it’s my imagination.) The bases of plants can get buried by mulch and dead plant parts over time, creating conditions of fungal growth and sometimes even making it harder from perennials to sprout; peonies flower better when the eyes are right about at soil level.
Spring is also a good time to shape and prune dead branches from those shrubs that flower in late summer or fall on new growth (don’t prune the spring flowerers yet!). This can be done even in late winter, but sometimes it’s easier to tell what’s dead after bud break. Otherwise, gently bending a twig or branch can give you an idea, or scraping a tiny bit of the bark off to see if it’s green underneath. Look for signs of disease, and be sure to clean out the base and around the trunk. Old debris and mulch touching the bark can cause rot, and be a hiding spot for insects and slugs.
Plus things just look tidier after a clean!
Need help getting your garden ready for spring? Give Peterson Lawn Services a call, we would be happy to help: 952-252-3301