- As the soil thaws, be sure to water dry areas, especially evergreens.
- Early spring is the best time for renovation & clean-up in the yard & garden. Broken & rubbing branches as well as sucker growth, are easily spotted & removed at this time. Thinning overgrown shrubs by removing the oldest branches to encourage new growth, is also easier before new foliage emerges.
- As new growth begins in the perennial & shrub borders, clean-up of last year’s stems is easily done. Application of Sustane fertilizer 5#/100 sq.ft. & Preen is done now (Forsythia will be in bloom) & again in late July.
- Shrubby type perennials (sub-shrubs), such as Butterfly Bushes, Blue Mist Spirea, Russian Sage & Beautyberry should be cut down now to 6-8” as these plants bloom on new wood. Ornamental grasses also need to be cut down to 6”. To make cutting grasses easier, tie a rope tight near the base of the plant & cut below it.
- Roses, Lavender & Clematis are plants that should not be pruned until new growth begins, generally in late April or May. Roses need to have dead & diseased branches removed as well as crossing stems to open up center for good air circulation. Cut lavender back to 4-6”. Summer & fall blooming clematis that bloom on new wood need to be cut down to 12”. Spring blooming varieties are best thinned & removal of dead or broken branches done.
- Spade edge borders need to be cut in spring & again mid-summer to keep grasses from encroaching into beds. Even brick borders will look sharper if edged at least once every year.
- Always pull weeds early or spot spray with an herbicide.
- Be sure wood mulches are top dressed early, before plants are up & in the way. Mulch should be 2-3” deep, but tapered down at trunks of trees & shrubs.
- Fall-blooming perennials as well as hostas & daylilies can be dug & divided in half or thirds (depending on size) as soon as they are up 6” to be replanted for blooms later in the season.
- Prune evergreen shrubs such as junipers & yews.
- Begin fertilizing houseplants for the growing season ahead.
- Plant trees & shrubs when soil is workable, NEVER when WET.
- Divide daylilies, hostas & mums when growth is up 6” & replant.
- Fertilize beds & borders with Sustane when perennials & ground covers begin actively growing & spread Preen. Top dress mulch as needed. Not more than 3” deep & taper DOWN at trees & shrubs.
- Pot up summer bulbs such as Cannas, Dahlias & Caladiums for head start on May planting.
- Apply pre-emergent herbicide to lawn areas for crabgrass control. It should be done before the forsythia blooms fall.
- If the lawn is thin, over seed at 2# grass seed/1000 sq. ft. Now and postpone the herbicide until seed is germinated.
- To compliment blooming spring bulbs, plant hardy annuals now such as Alyssum, Dianthus, Pansies, Petunias, Dusty Miller, Snapdragons, Violas & Calendulas for early floral displays. These tolerate temps as low as 28*.
- DO NOT prune roses until new growth begins.
- DO NOT cut back tulips, daffodils & other bulbs until foliage is yellowed.
- Begin planting perennials in active growth when soil is workable. Blooms can be damaged by frost. Trim back if needed.
- Prune clematis as new growth begins by thinning out weak stems.
- Prune lavender plants back to 4-6” ONLY as new growth begins.
- Plant container grown roses now thru fall.
- Harden off indoor grown ivies to accent outdoor planters.
- Attend Meyer Landscape & Design Seminars and learn about new varieties & ideas for your gardens to try this season.
- Water new trees & shrubs every 10-14 days, unless an inch of rain falls (for average soil conditions)
- Water new perennial & annual plantings every 7-10 days (for average soil conditions)…Check container plantings everyday.
- Average annual last frost date for the Quad-Cities is between May 10-20.
- Plant gladiolus, cannas, dahlias & tuberous begonias.
- Fertilize roses when new growth is established & again 4-6 weeks later with 1-cup Sustane fertilizer per bush. Supplement every 2-3 weeks with Rooting & Blooming food.
- Pinch new growth on mums when 6” tall and every 2 weeks until July 4th.Fertilize.
- REMEMBER MOTHER’S DAY ON MAY 8th with a blooming container garden or flowering shrub to remind Mom how special she is.
- Place plant supports in perennial beds now as new growth begins to elongate so plants stand taller & foliage hides the supports.
- Consider hostas, ground covers & shade shrubs for areas in the lawn that are too shady to grow grass.
- Plant warm season crops as well as bedding plants & herbs now.
- Fertilize plants in containers weekly. Pinch plants often.
- Begin regular inspections NOW to control insects & diseases in the yard & garden.
- Spot spray OR pull weeds as soon as they appear in beds & borders.
- Pond water should be at least 65* before adding tender tropicals for the season.
- June is ‘Perennial Gardening’ Month
- Enjoy walking your yard & continue regular inspections of lawn & gardens for insect & disease control.
- Water lawn & plantings as needed. Better to deep water on a less frequent schedule (every 10-14 days) than constant light waterings…especially where fungus or disease has been a problem.
- Remove spent blooms (dead-head) on annuals & perennials regularly to encourage more blooms & improve plant vigor. Fertilize containers weekly.
- Prune flowering shrubs after blooms fade to promote new growth.
- Treat for Euonymus scale crawlers when Tree Lilacs are in early bloom. Repeat 4 times at 10-12 day intervals.
- Remember to pull or spot spray weeds as they first appear in beds & borders…small weeds are easier to control.
- Summertime blooms of annuals are greatly enhanced if dead-headed regularly, so they cannot set seed. Enjoying annuals as cut flowers when blooms are 1⁄2-2/3 open, can add wonderful splashes of color indoors as well as out.
- Annuals will stay vigorous if fertilized regularly from spring to fall. Ground beds every 2 weeks…containers every week. Many varieties such as Verbenas, Calibrachoas, Brachycome, Petunias, Alyssum & Geraniums will bloom well into October & even November, depending on the season. Use Fertilome Rooting & Blooming Food.
- Perennials should have faded blooms removed to maintain plant vigor & some varieties will even bloom again later in summer. If foliage is in need of trimming, DO NOT cut back plants by more than 1⁄2 to avoid excessive stress & poor root growth.
- Fertilize with Sustane again in mid-late July for second time & apply Preen again to all beds to cut down on late summer & fall weeds.
- Summer’s most important job, as always, is watering. If rains do not provide at least 1” of water then deep soak Trees & Shrubs/every 10-14 days; Perennials in established beds/every 10-14 days; perennials in new plantings/every 7-10 days; and annuals in beds every 5-7 days…depending on soil type & weather conditions. Check container grown plants daily especially hanging baskets and water as needed.
- Lighten up shady corners with white & pastel colors as well as variegated foliage. Plants such as Heucheras, Astilbe, Hostas, Aquilegias, Lysimachia & even tall Phlox with Variegated Dogwood or Tri-color Euonymus are a good start.
- Liven up a hot sunny location with warm bold colors, such as golden yellows, bright reds and tangerine orange with purple accents to vividly stand out in the summertime heat.
- Broadleaf lawn weeds are best controlled from September to mid-October.
- Plant spring flowering bulbs, especially in ground cover areas, to create early spring interest in your plantings. Try planting in ‘Layers’ for longer bloom time.
- Spring & early summer blooming perennials are best divided in mid-late September so next season’s bloom will not be interrupted.
- Begin potting favorite plants used in containers or beds & move to shady area to acclimate for indoors later in the month & carry over to next year.
- Continue deep watering of trees, shrubs and perennials as needed thru the month.
- As plants begin to harden off for winter, be sure to clean/prune out diseased and damaged foliage. Most plants will either lose their leaves or dry out; some even have attractive berries or seedpods that add to the winter garden & feed the birds. Leaving perennials & ornamental grasses stand until spring is extra protection for the plants over winter.
- DO NOT FORCE plants into winter dormancy by cutting down when green or covering too early…roses & ornamental grasses as well as woody perennials, are best left until mid-late November before mulching in.
- Topdressing of wood mulch should give a total depth of 2-3” to help control moisture levels & insulate the soil once it is frozen in.
- Spray evergreens with Wilt-Pruf to help prevent desiccation in winter. Be sure to repeat during the January thaw.
- Apply tree wrap to young & thin-barked trees from ground to lower branches.
- Protect tender & exposed shrubs from desiccating winter winds with a burlap screen.
- Finish mulching roses and ornamentals as they go into dormancy.
- Do not take live plants outdoors unless well protected.
- Spray fresh cut greenery & Christmas trees with Wilt-Pruf to last longer both indoors & out.
- Don’t forget to care for your houseplants with a weekly inspection & shower of water-especially ivies, ferns & violets. This simple practice will not only clean foliage but also wash off insects & raise humidity.
- Grouping houseplants in arrangements will help raise humidity around them.
- If the ground is dry & not yet frozen, one more watering of new planting & evergreens is needed as late as December 20.
- During the winter, one of our most severe problems is ‘heaving’. This occurs during the cycles of freezing soil temperatures followed by bright winter sun & warming day temperatures followed again by freezing nights. As little as 1⁄4” of exposed plant roots if exposed & dehydrated can kill an entire plant. Fall blooming chrysanthemums are a good example. The best way to combat the problem is first by mulching beds & second, checking the beds during winter warm spells as in January thaw. Any areas that have risen up, even slightly, need to be gently pushed back down by hand or the ball of your foot, then adds another light layer of mulch for protection.
- Walking your yard in winter as well as viewing it from your favorite vantage points in the home can help you visualize new options for next season. Ideas for more structure in the yard to add to winter interest such as an arbor, a short wall of limestone or blocks in a sweep or even a tree with interesting bark or winter fruit. A new habitat area for birds or butterflies with a small pond or a sweeping island of colorful shrubs & perennials with ornamental grasses to add more interest to a large expanse of lawn. Shrub roses can add ‘pizzazz’ to a long hedge or wall and offer summertime color.