How To

Here is a list of gardening basics that are simple but important spring chores to make sure you get the most out of your garden this year.


How to Fertilize

How to Fertilize

Shrubs: Established less than one year use a liquid transplant fertilizer diluted to the directions on the packaging. Established for more than one year use a balanced fertilizer such as 15-30-15, again diluted to the directions on the packaging.

Trees: Established less than one year use a liquid transplant fertilizer diluted to the directions on the packaging. Established for more than one year use a balanced fertilizer such as 15-30-15, again diluted to the directions on the packaging.

Evergreens: Established less than one year use a liquid transplant fertilizer diluted to the directions on the packaging. Established for more than one year use a high nitrogen fertilizer such as 30-10-10, again diluted to the directions on the packaging. The exception to this is any blue spruce, use the 15-30-15 formulation as you do not want to turn your blue trees green.


How To Measure Mulch

How To Measure Mulch

There are many benefits to the use of mulch on garden beds. Mulch can help retard weeds, retain moisture, enhance aesthesis, and provide an insulating barrier for both spring and winter.

Step1: Acquire the square footage of the area to be mulched.

Step 2: Determine the amount of mulch needed.
1 cubic yard of mulch will cover 100 square feet at 3” thick
1 cubic yard of mulch will cover 150 square feet at 2”thick


Springtime Clean-Up

Springtime Clean-Up

Survey the Yard: Make note of tree limbs that should be removed or cabled, especially those that overhang structures. Hire an arborist to maintain large trees. Cut down last year's perennial foliage, and toss it into the compost pile. Rake mulch from beds planted with bulbs before foliage appears, and refresh mulch in other planting areas after soil warms. Check fences, steps, and pathways for disrepair caused by freezing and thawing.

Prune Trees and Shrubs: Remove dead, damaged, and diseased branches from woody plants. Thin and trim summer-blooming shrubs such as spirea, hydrangea, and hibiscus. Prune cold-damaged wood after plants resume spring growth. Prune spring-blooming shrubs and trees such as lilacs and forsythia after flowering.

Take a Soil Test: Check soil pH with a home soil- test kit, taking several samples from different planting areas for an accurate reading. Enrich soil as necessary.

Prepare New Beds: Clear the planting area as soon as soil can be worked, removing sod or weeds and debris. Spread a 4-inch layer of compost or well-rotted manure and any amendments over soil, and cultivate it to a depth of 10 to 12 inches with a spading fork.

Plant: Plant bare-root trees, shrubs, and perennials such as hostas and daylilies by early spring. Choose a cool, cloudy day if possible. Transplant container-grown plants anytime during the growing season; be sure to water them thoroughly.

Fertilize: Apply balanced fertilizer (16-16-16 or 5-1-5), or other soil amendments recommended by soil-test results around trees and shrubs when new growth appears. Spread high-acid fertilizer and pine-needle mulch around acid-loving shrubs like azaleas and hollies. Begin fertilizing perennials when active growth resumes.

Mulch Beds: Apply a 2-3” layer of shredded pine mulch to help maintain moisture, decrease weed growth and improve soil conditions.