Spring Gardening Tips

Here’s my list of tips for spring gardening:

  • Aerate, thatch and fertilize lawns if you didn’t do this in the fall. For established lawns, you should start mowing in the spring, but don’t cut the grass too short. Three inches is best for Fescue. Make sure that you don’t leave lawn clippings on the lawn during the winter/rainy time.
  • Think about upgrading your conventional irrigation clock to an ET (evapotranspiration) system. You can save between 20-25% of water use with this technology.
  • Consider replacing your irrigation heads to MP rotator heads to save water and get more absorbed. We are seeing up to 25% savings. Combine the ET and new irrigation heads and you can save up to 40% of water!
  • Plant your vegetable and herb garden and don’t forget to seed some pumpkins for the fall. To protect these new plants from frost, have plastic tarp available to cover your beds overnight when temperatures get cold. Create a cold frame with PVC pipe to prevent the tarp from weighing down on the plants.
  • When your early blooming shrubs, such as lilacs, forsythia and viburnum, prune them as soon as blooms have passed. Early spring is also an ideal time to prune your roses, if you haven’t done so already.
  • After the bulbs are done blooming, remove the spent flowers, but leave the rest of the plant for the time being. The green tissue will recharge the bulb for next year.
  • Pull weeds from your planting beds and borders before they have a chance to take hold and spread. Apply pre-emergent, if necessary. Re-mulch to replenish decomposed mulch.
    NOTE: Do not use tree chips from an outside source because you are inviting diseases and pests. You can get recycled mulch from Organic Solutions in Benicia, it’s been heat sterilized and composted for 2 years.
  • Fertilize and mulch planting beds and borders. Spring is also a good time to fertilize fruit trees.
  • Spring is a great time to add new plants to your garden or to think about renovation of your landscape. This is a good season to plant trees, shrubs, hardy annuals and summer blooming bulbs as well as install hardscape elements and upgrade your irrigation system before summertime.

About Thomas

Thomas Raeth, the owner of Lafayette Tree & Landscape based in Lafayette, Calif., is a licensed landscape contractor, certified arborist and certified pesticide controller. His company has been designing and installing inspirational gardens, ponds, walkways and patios as well as many other decorative landscape features for its clients for decades. Lafayette Tree & Landscape serves Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Walnut Creek, Danville, Alamo, Pleasant Hill, Martinez and many other Contra Costa County communities as well as the Oakland hills.
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