Before the last frost you can begin…
You may think there isn’t much landscaping to do prior to the predicted ‘last frost’ in Minnesota, however, we have a list to get a little spring in your step, even your hands dirty and enjoying the fresh, crisp air of early spring. Where to start? Read on:
- Uncover and remove winter mulch from roses, spring bulbs, and perennials.
- Divide and replant overgrown perennials.
- Till flower and vegetable garden soil and add composted cow manure, rice hulls, peat moss, or composted leaves.
Planting before the cold has passed, no way, you say? Actually there are a few projects you can do early in the season including planting some hardy, colorful flowers:
- Plant frost-tolerant pansies and Johnny-jump-ups for early spring color.
- Plant trees and shrubs as soon as the ground is dry enough for digging; late frost and snow will not hurt newly planted trees.
- Evergreens can be pruned at almost any time except late in the growing season.
- Prune hedges and summer-flowering shrubs. Check for damage and remove broken branches.
This is also the prime time to prime your soil and hone your weed control strategy:
- Apply fresh mulch around trees and shrubs for weed control.
- Fertilize trees and shrubs.
- Apply crabgrass preventer to lawns.
- Fertilize spring bulbs when foliage emerges.
- Till or spade the soil deeply; if desired, add a slow-release flower-garden fertilizer.
Don’t fall into the trap of planting your indoor spring babies into the ground too soon. Certainly you can bring them outside during the day and water them, get some direct sunlight on them but don’t put them in the ground in early spring or you may find yourself scrambling to cover them all when the unexpected frost, or, (gasp!) even a May snow storm comes.
Later spring gardening tips:
Plan to work fertilizer into vegetable and flower gardens before they are planted and mulch the flower garden to conserve moisture and reduce weed growth. Remove accumulated leaves and debris from evergreens, shrubs and perennial gardens. Prune pines when new growth is fully grown and soft. Fertilize roses and begin maintenance program against black spot and mildew. Make sure freshly planted trees and shrubs are watered weekly, especially during dry periods and continue to water throughout the season.
- Install peony hoops.
- Plant summer-blooming bulbs.
- Prune forsythia, azaleas, and lilacs after they have flowered; all spring-flowering shrubs should be pruned right after flowering.
- Begin apple-tree spray programs after blossoms drop.
- Plant new annuals and perennials after we are free from frost threats.
Rake, overseed, and fertilize the lawn but keep in mind you should avoid applying crabgrass preventer to newly overseeded areas. Seed new lawns while nights are still cool and the weather is wet. The time to control dandelions and Creeping Charlie is by applying herbicide before heads are formed. You can also apply crabgrass preventer to lawns at this time.