Sandy Perrin

As the days lengthen and temperatures fluctuate, gardeners across the region are gearing up for the growing season. Here are some essential tips to ensure your garden thrives this spring:

1. Pruning Tips: With spring in full swing, it's tempting to start pruning away, but hold off on pruning spring flowering bushes like forsythia and lilacs until they finish blooming. Remember not to prune more than a quarter to a third of the tree.

2. Divide Perennials: Now is the ideal time to divide summer and fall blooming perennials. Take advantage of the mild weather to rejuvenate your flower beds.

3. Pest Control: If voles have left unsightly trails in your lawn due to the long snow cover, consider trapping them with a peanut butter and oatmeal mixture. It's an effective and humane method to protect your lawn.

4. Insect and Disease Prevention: Keep an eye out for signs of mites, aphids, scale, or leaf rollers from last year. Consider applying insect-preventative horticultural oil spray as tree and shrub buds begin to swell. Remember to apply oils carefully to avoid burning tender new leaf tissue.

5. Disease Prevention: Check cherry, plum, and apricot trees for signs of oozing and cracking, which could indicate bacterial or fungal canker diseases. Copper is an excellent preventative spray for bark cracking or oozing on these trees. For bacterial diseases like Fireblight, consider copper or Bordeaux mix, while Copper or Lime sulfur are effective against fungal diseases.

6. Planting Seeds: With soil temperatures averaging 44°F, it's time to start planting vegetable seeds such as spinach, lettuce, radishes, and peas. However, be cautious as it's still early and seeds could rot if it turns cold and wet.

7. Lawn Care: Aerating lawns is essential at this time, but it's too early for weed and feed as many weeds are not actively growing yet. Keep an eye out for perennial weeds like quackgrass and knapweed, and tackle them with least-toxic options.

8. Moss Control: Moss seems to be a common problem this spring due to soil compaction, shade, and watering practices. Aerate your lawn and consider fertilizing with a moss-killing formulation or finished compost to control moss growth.

9. Soil Testing: Test your garden soil and determine what soil amendments are needed to provide optimal conditions for your plants.

As we embrace the beauty of spring, these gardening tips will help you cultivate a thriving garden and enjoy the fruits of your labor throughout the season. Stay tuned for more updates and insights as we embark on this journey together into the world of gardening.