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Spring Awakening: A Gardener’s Guide to Rebooting Your Yard

As the last wisps of winter dissipate, our gardens stir from their slumber, and we emerge from our own hibernation, eager to tackle the tasks that will bring our outdoor spaces to life. But before you dive headfirst into pruning and planting, take a step back and assess the state of your garden.

Safety First

Start by inspecting your trees and shrubs for damage caused by winter storms. Remove any broken branches or dead wood to prevent further damage and ensure the safety of your garden visitors. If the damage is out of reach, it’s best to call in a professional arborist.

Pruning and Mulching

Prune your shrubs, except for spring bloomers, which should be pruned after their flowers fade. And when it comes to mulching, resist the urge to apply it too early. Wait until the soil has warmed up and the risk of frost has passed. In most regions, this means waiting until late May or early June.

Perennials and Pollinators

Cut back last year’s spent perennials and ornamental grasses once nighttime temperatures have remained above 50 degrees for a week. This allows beneficial insects and pollinators to emerge and get to work in your garden.

Lawn Care

Check your lawn for bare spots and seed them once a week, watering twice a day until new growth meets the existing turf height. Avoid walking on wet soil to prevent compaction and structural damage.

Flowers and Fertilizers

When flowering bulbs fade, apply a balanced fertilizer. But don’t remove leaves until they turn yellow – the plants need them to produce energy for next year’s bloom. Give established perennials a dose of fertilizer as soon as they wake up, and plant new ones six weeks before the summer heat sets in.


Before diving into the growing season, take the time to inspect and assess your garden, prune and mulch responsibly, and prioritize the health and safety of your plants. By following these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to a thriving outdoor space that’s ready to bloom.

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