Guide to gardening through the seasons


Your 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.


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  • FC&A Staff Writer