Guide to gardening through the seasons
Knowing what to do and when to do it is the key to a beautiful lawn and garden.
- Prepare beds and borders for new plants by mixing in 1 to 3 inches of compost.
- Put fresh mulch in flower beds and around shrubs and trees.
- Lightly fertilize lawn. Aerate, dethatch, and overseed if needed.
- Apply a pre-emergent herbicide to kill crabgrass and other lawn weeds.
- Plant your summer-flowering bulbs and perennials.
- Divide perennials that have grown too large.
- Prune spring-flowering shrubs and climbers that have already bloomed.
- Prune rose bushes, butterfly bushes , and deciduous shrubs and climbers that flower in late summer.
- Fertilize established shrubs, including roses.
- Prune away dead, broken, or diseased branches. These become easier to spot as plants leaf out in spring.
- Rebuild your compost pile, and water it to keep it moist.
- Mow the lawn regularly, but let grass grow a little taller during the hottest months.
- Mulch any garden beds you missed in spring with grass clippings or compost to keep weeds down and water from evaporating.
- Water lawns when nature doesn't provide enough rain. Grass needs 1 inch of water per week, rain and sprinklers combined.
- Water new trees and shrubs each week, with enough water to reach 1 foot deep.
- Prune the last of spring-flowering shrubs and climbers.
- Trim fast-growing hedges after their spring flush of growth. Wait until late summer to trim evergreen and conifer hedges.
- Divide cluttered clumps of irises and primroses after flowering.
- Deadhead flowers.
- Prune herbaceous plants and rambling roses once they blow. You may get a second round of blossoms.
- Plant daffodil bulbs in late summer.
- Prune back fruiting shrubs.
- Prepare cold frames for fall vegetables.
- Rake leaves off the lawn, and add them to the compost pile.
- Add a layer of leaves over beds to crowd out weeds and feed the soil.
- Plant (or transplant) trees, shrubs, and certain perennials to give them a head start come spring. If they are deciduous, wait until after the leaves have fallen.
- Prune the roots of any shrubs and trees you hope to transplant in spring.
- Cut back flowering perennials, including rose bushes, to prepare them for winter.
- Divide cluttered clumps of hardy perennials, and replant them.
- Turn off and drain outdoor water lines and sprinkler systems.
- Store hoses and sprinklers for the winter.
- Clean up overgrowth in your yard, and add it to your compost pile.
- Fertilize the lawn again, and top-dress with a layer of compost. Overseed thin spots.
- Get spring-flowering bulbs like tulips into the ground.
- Dig up and store canna, dahlias, and gladiolus after the first frost, in cold climates.
- Remove rotten fruit from the ground around fruit trees to discourage disease.
- Apply compost to vegetable beds.
- Begin planning next year's garden and landscape. Pre-order plants and seeds.
- Check your stored bulbs, and toss out any that are soft with rot.
- Prune woody shrubs and trees, especially fruit trees, while they are dormant. But don't prune plum and cherry trees.
- Plant bare-root roses.
- Apply a light scattering of nitrogen fertilizer to green winter lawns.
- Knock snow off tree limbs and hedges to guard against broken branches.
- Coppice shrubs in late winter, if you like the unique look.
- Keep adding kitchen scraps and leaves to your compost pile.
- FC&A Staff Writer