Annuals and Containers
- Unless you have a warm place to store container plants, wait until after the last frost before filling them with summer annuals. In cool spring weather, you can enjoy pansies, snapdragons, dianthus, and violas.
- Be sure to deadhead your plants to promote more blooms.
- Sow seeds for summer blooming annuals indoors. If you started them last month, transplant seedlings into peat pots or other containers to prepare for moving outdoors.
Cool-season grasses will begin growing in early spring.
- Cool-season grasses (such as fescue and bluegrass) begin growing in earnest as spring arrives. If needed, feed lightly with a balanced fertilizer. Aerate and dethatch cool-season lawns only if absolutely necessary; otherwise be gentle – since lawns are delicate in spring.
- Bermuda lawns may benefit from a “scalping” to remove the tall brown stubble of winter. Scalping is not necessary but can make the grass softer and easier to mow in summer. Gradually lower your mower blade to a final mowing of about 1”, and remove the clippings. Do not scalp other types of grass.
- Spring is a good time to add soil to low areas and to patch bare spots in cool-season lawns. Heavy seed planting is most successful in the fall.
- Avoid walking on spongy, wet soil.
- Test your soil pH and add lime (if acidic) or sulfur (if alkaline), following package instructions.
- Resume your warm weather watering schedule as soon as grass begins to grow.
Plan to add some herbs to your perennial garden this year.
Fruits, Vegetables, and Herbs
- Plant fruit trees.
- Plow and work your garden as soon as the soil is dry and crumbly. Work in a nice layer of compost or other organic matter.
- Plant and enjoy cool-season leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, and other greens.
- Plant bare-root perennial vegetables and fruits, such as asparagus, rhubarb, grapes, and berries.
- Begin planting cool-weather vegetables such as carrots, beets, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, mustard, peas, and potatoes.
- Start seeds indoors for summer vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and corn.
- Rejuvenate your herb garden – trim back leggy plants and add new perennial herbs such as rosemary, parsley, thyme, and mint.
- Plant annual herb seeds, such as basil and cilantro, indoors to transplant to the garden after the last frost.
- Plant tomatoes and other warm-weather vegetables in containers that can be brought indoors during cold temperatures.
Houseplants can be repotted in the spring.
- Pinch back spindly plants, and root the cuttings.
- Repot houseplants that are pot-bound.
- Inspect for insects and diseases, such as spider mites and scale. Address problems as soon as you spot them.
- As soon as your houseplants begin to grow, you can begin a schedule of fertilizing and resume a regular watering schedule.
- Gently wipe or spray houseplants to remove winter dust. For fuzzy-leaved plants like African violets, gently brush clean with a soft, dry cloth.
- Increase watering of cacti in preparation for blooming.
Get ready for nesting birds!
Cleanup and Maintenance
- Start or add to your compost pile using the debris from spring clean-up.
- Scrub garden fountains with water or a mild vinegar solution, and refill with fresh water.
- Clean out, inspect, and repair birdhouses for the spring nesting season.
- Continue feeding the birds and watch for the arrival of hummingbirds.
- Repair and paint fences, trellises, arbors, and garden furniture.
- Observe your lawn and garden during the spring thaw and rains and address any drainage problems.
- Start a garden journal to keep track of weather patterns, bloom times, sunlight, and plant growth.