Spring Yard Maintenance
Leaves - Rake shrub beds and yards. Bag debris; do NOT rake
leaves into gutters and streets or onto common property or into
Mulch - Apply a couple of inches of mulch to help retain
water to feed your shrubs and plants.
Seeding - This is the time to seed bare or sparse spots.
Break the ground surface with a hard metal rake, sow seed, cover
lightly with topsoil and/or peat moss (to thwart birds and help
retain moisture) and keep moist daily until you see green shoots
Pruning - This is not a good time to prune trees and shrubs
that flower; doing so will prevent or diminish blooms. Wait until
after the blooms have fallen.
Spring Training For Gardeners
They say gardening is great exercise, but few gardeners make the
effort to warm up and stretch the way they would before any other
exercise activity. If there’s a time when that effort is needed,
it’s springtime. After a long off-season of sitting, you need
to ease your body into the stretches, lifting and contortions you
are going to demand of it in the garden.
Here are some reminders for getting in gardening shape and staying
- Pace yourself. Do the hard stuff first, before you’re tired
out and more likely to overexert.
- Don’t hunch. If you squat when you weed, keep your back
as straight as possible and move along as you weed, don’t
reach too far.
- When lifting, always bend from the knees, not the waist, and
try to keep your back straight. Use your thigh muscles to do the
lifting. Move your feet closer to the object you are lifting and
take a wide stance, to balance yourself. Keep the object close to
you as you lift it.
- Don’t lift and twist in the same movement.
- Kneel on both knees at the same time to avoid the temptation
to twist or strain. Use a knee pad.
- Use tools with comfortable handles. Wrap the grip with an old
piece of hose or coat with rubber paint, for gripping comfort. Remember
to change hands from time to time.
- When using long handled tools, stand straight and keep your knees
relaxed. If you need to twist or pivot, step into the twist to ease
tension on the back.
- Get out that wheelbarrow or wagon and use it.
Flower Pruning 101
Deadheading may sound like a cruel way to treat a plant, but if
you want it to flower all summer, do it! Apart from making the garden
much neater, removing fading flowers also prevents plants setting
seed. Setting seed is their reason for living, so they will simply
grow new flowers and try again - and again - and again, giving you
burst after burst of new blooms.
How Is It Done?
Flowers should be removed just after they've peaked. Be vigilant.
Pinching, pruning, snapping and clipping are the methods. Pinch
short-stemmed flowers such as Petunias - as far down the stem as
possible - but prune Roses. Cut the stem diagonally just above the
highest leaf. Plants with one flower per stem should be cut just
above a strong bud. This method works for most plants with long
stems carrying a single flower. Use a pair of handheld shears or
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