Twig Tips by Jodie

Posted on April 5, 2018 by jo


OK, so...we know it's SUPPOSED to be spring.  I for one am getting tired of waiting and I know a lot of you are too.  We are chomping at the bit to get some work done in our yards and gardens, but do you know everything that could be done this early besides the obvious projects of late leaf removal and touching up your lawns?  Spring cleaning can give us the opportunity to evaluate and also to be pro-active.  In this blog I hope to give you a few ideas about some tasks you may not have thought of, like you needed more to do, right? 

Sometimes spring cleaning involves making some decisions about our landscapes and gardens.....for example, is it time to remove something or time to add something?  Should you dig something up and divide it, or just dig it up and throw it out (or give it away)?  Or....maybe you should move it.  Now is the time.  If it wasn't happy where you put it initially and has struggled for a few years, find a new home for it where it will have more sun (or less), with better drainage (or more moisture).  Landscape gardening involves a lot of experimentation, and even though we use our knowledge and the label to tell us where to plant something, sometimes we just get it wrong.  Maybe a plant is getting bigger than you expected and you've had to prune it back for a couple of years.  Instead of doing that, why not move it now to a new location where it has room to develop as Nature intended, not whacked into a ball to keep it in bounds. 

If the past 2 winters have damaged some of your plants to the point of just plain ugliness, think about replacing them.  Use a different species of plant, one that is hardier.  We have gotten a bit complacent over the years because our winters had become milder, but these recent sub-zero temps have really hit some plants hard.  Re-evaluate the site. Update. Replace with something hardier.

What else to include in your early spring cleaning projects?  How about putting on your plant doctor hat and prescribe some early, preventative treatments for common disease and insect problems.  Spray with dormant oil to prevent scale insects on euonymus species (including Burning Bush and wintercreeper ground cover) and various other woody ornamentals (tulip trees, red maples & magnolias to name a few) Pachysandra ground cover can be helped by an early dormant oil spray if scale is present, and Crabapples can use it to inhibit those nasty tent caterpillars that show up in the spring.   This should be done in early spring (NOW!) when temps are between 40 and 70 and before plants start leafing out. 

And don't forget, now is the time to 1) cut back your ornamental grasses 2) cut back the perennials you didn't get to last fall 3) trim out damaged branches on trees and shrubs 4) pick up the doggie doo (maybe do that first, so that you don't step in it while you are performing task numbers 1, 2 & 3)  5) Prune summer-flowering shrubs like potentilla, summer spireas, some hydrangeas and butterfly bushes to remove dead and excess growth and rejuvenate the plant. 

There.  That'll keep you busy the next couple of weeks. 

Off to clean up the dog doo-doo (first on MY list....)   Jodie




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