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Spring Cleaning

March 25, 2019

Spring Cleaning

Finally!  The snow has started to melt, the birds are singing, and the smell of wet earth is slowly filling the air. You look out the window onto your beautiful garden and see… a brown soggy mess. Its time to give your garden a good spring cleaning!

Here are a few easy things you can do that will pay off later in the season.

Start by opening your gardening shed and quickly evict any critters that might have taken residence during the winter!  Examine your tools, is there rust on the blades? Do the wood handles need polishing? Is it time to oil some of the mechanisms? Are there a number of pots that need a good scrubbing before they can be used again?

Once you have taken the time to put your tools back in tip-top shape, put your boots on and have a walk around your garden. Pick up and dispose of the all the winter debris, fallen branches, scattered sticks and plastic bags that have flown into your garden uninvited. Give the grass a good raking to remove the dead leaves and give it a chance to absorb sunlight.

Chances are, last year's perennials with their dry and grey stalks are looking a bit sad. Cutting these down to the ground will give the new growth access to light and give them space to make their way out more quickly. Take the time to look at your shrubs and vines, a light pruning to remove the dried and dead branches will give them more strength to begin the new season.

Spring is the most beneficial time to fertilize your young trees and shrubs when the soil becomes workable. Spring is an important time for all trees, as the water is redirected from the roots to the branches and newly growing leaves, carrying upwards all the nutrients the trees need to start their spring growth.

"When young trees soak up nitrogen fertilizer, they grow quickly, develop a dense canopy and stay green into the fall," said Ross Penhallegon, horticulturist with the Oregon State University Extension Service.

Early spring is also the best time to do some pro-active weeding. The damp workable soil of early spring makes it easy to pull out undesirable plants, roots and all. This will give you more room to divide and transplant plants that might be getting too big for your garden. To give your plants the best chance to recover, doing this when the weather is mild, and they are raring to grow will give you the best chance for success. Take the opportunity when assessing your plants to determine which ones will need staking, the earlier you do it in the season the easier it will be, for you and your plants!

Your garden should already be looking a lot livelier. This could be a good time to start a garden journal with your goals for the new season. What are your garden goals for 2019? We would love to hear about them, you can leave us comments on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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