Spring is nearly here!
Late Winter is a cold yet hopeful time of year. There are more birds singing, the days become longer, and sometimes we even notice our lawns growing…a bit!
At Harrell, this is when our grounds maintenance teams begin to look forward to Spring and all its promise. Our gardeners are busy paving the way for fresh new greenery and healthy growth. End of Winter garden maintenance can help give you a jump start on the growing season and give you time in Spring to just watch the flowers bloom.
Sometimes the amount of work needed after a season of storms and previous seasons’ debris can become overwhelming. It helps to have a list of late winter gardening tips to help focus on the most necessary tasks to promote a vigorous garden, and here is ours:
- Removing storm waste and old leaves and raking and amending beds where you can makes it easier for the next season’s greenery to begin to push through.
- Pruning, fixing outbuildings and maintaining garden tools frees you up in Spring to do the fun stuff like starting seeds and planting flower pots and beds. You can take advantage of plant dormancy in late winter gardens and minimize damage with winter pruning to protect from frost.
- Potting forced bulbs
- Starting your Allium crops, such as garlic and leeks
- Planning the vegetable garden and purchasing seeds
- Spreading organic mulch over perennial fruit and vegetable gardens
- Trimming off broken and dead branches and stems from trees/shrubs
- A bit later in the winter, you may be able to begin turning over beds and adding compost.
Notes on pruning: Almost every plant is best pruned at the end of Winter when they are dormant. The largest exceptions are those plants that bloom and fruit from old wood. These should be pruned after they produce in Spring. Pruning when the plant is dormant reduces the loss of life-giving sap from the wounds and cuts tend to heal more quickly than when the tree is actively growing. Pruning is one of the most important gardening tasks for end of winter because it helps promote a strong scaffold, removes impediments to new growth and supports overall good health for the tree. Proper pruning technique requires clean, sharp implements. Cut just outside of branch collars and not into parent wood. Use a slightly angled cut that allows excess moisture to fall of the cut and reduce the chance of rot investing the wound. Remove water sprouts and suckers and open the canopy of thickly branched trees. Take out dead wood and anything that is rubbing against other wood. Try to keep the tree or bush in as natural a habit as possible for best health.