Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Spring Maintenance: Tips and Tasks

Spring is the best time to divide perennial plants.
By Jeana Myers
NC Cooperative Extension Master Gardener

Spring is a gardener’s busy time of year!  Along with soil preparation, weeding, and mulching, spring is a great season to plant perennials, shrubs, trees, and spring vegetables.
  • Find a quality compost or mulch source. For new gardens, loosen soil and add compost before planting.
  • In established beds, top-dress with 3 to 4 inches of mulch to reduce weed germination and add organic matter. Remove weeds before mulching! Perennial weeds and Bermudagrass will grow right through it.
  • If adding compost, mix in a 1- to 2-inch layer and then soil test!  After April 1, soil testing is free at the NCDA&CS Soil Lab. The soil test report will indicate if you need lime or fertilizer.
  • Always choose healthy plants— bargain plants may introduce pest problems.
  • Dig up, divide, and replant your perennials now so they will have enough time to reestablish before summer.
  • Shrubs and trees can be planted in spring, but do not plant too deeply! The soil will settle, and you don’t want the flare of the trunk below soil level.
  • Mulch new plantings and give them water during summer dry spells.
  • Plant spring vegetable transplants or direct seed those that like cool weather, such as peas and radishes.
  • Start warm-season vegetables by seed if you have a sunny indoor spot. 

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