Friday, February 24, 2012

Spring Cleaning Your Garden - Getting Your Garden Ready to Grow

When To Start Spring Cleaning in Your Garden     
     By Marie Iannotti, Guide

There's no point in pretending you're not going to be out in your garden the first warm second of spring. While there is no harm in cleaning up fallen branches and debris, wait until the soil is no longer wet enough to form a ball in your hand, before walking on it and compacting it. But don't wait too long to start your clean up. It's much easier to cut plants back before the old growth gets tangled up in the new growth.

1. Flower Garden Spring Clean-Up

The first task is removing and composting any dead annual plants that remained over winter. These will not return and any self-seeders will already have done their job.

If you didn't prune back your perennials last fall, they're probably looking pretty ugly as spring sets in. Many perennials actually prefer to be left standing throughout the winter, for extra protection. But by definition, herbaceous perennials will die back to the ground during winter. If you did leave your perennials standing last fall, once you start to see new growth at the base of the plants, it's safe to begin removing winter mulch and pruning them down to ground level.

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Suggested Perennial Plants to Prune in the Spring - Perennials Plants To Leave Standing Until Spring Cleaning
By Marie Iannotti

Gardeners in warm climates can treat fall, and sometimes even winter, as supplemental growing seasons. But for gardeners who experience hard winters, fall is a great time to get a head start on garden clean-up. We hear a lot about four seasons of interest in the garden, but this rarely applies to perennial plants. Most perennials turn ugly as the temperatures drop.

However there are a few that remain evergreen, especially in milder areas. These can be left standing for interest as well as to fuel the vigor of the plant. And there are perennials that simply don’t fare well if they are pruned too late in the season.

The following list is a recommendation of plants that are best pruned in spring. There will, of course, be exceptions. Any plant that is diseased, infested, or otherwise in poor condition, should be pruned in the fall. Consider this listing and the complementary Plants to Prune in the Fall, as guidelines. You will learn what works and what doesn’t, for your own garden.

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