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Early Spring Gardening Checklist

The ground has thawed, crocuses and snowdrops are blooming, and more bulbs and perennials are beginning to emerge from the warming earth. It's time to complete these early spring gardening tasks as the weather warms to get your garden ready for prime blooming and planting season.

Early Spring Gardening Checklist

  • REMOVE WINTER DEBRIS. Gently rake leaves and other brush from shrub and flower beds. Work carefully around tender emerging shoots. Trim browned foliage of ornamental grasses and perennials.
  • INSPECT TREES, SHRUBS, AND PERENNIALS for winter damage and heaving. Remove damaged or dead wood and tamp down shrubs and perennials that have heaved out of the ground, exposing roots.
  • PRUNE TREES AND SHRUBS. Evergreens and deciduous summer-flowering shrubs can be pruned and shaped in early spring before new growth occurs to maintain size and remove dead branches.
  • REJUVENATE THE SOIL. Apply a top dressing of 2-3” of compost and work it into the soil to add nutrients and improve the drainage and texture of your soil. Take care not to damage plant roots.
  • APPLY PRE-EMERGENT WEED CONTROL. Remove perennial weeds and annual weeds that sprouted over winter. Prevent new weed seeds from germinating by applying a pre-emergent weed preventer now.
  • INSPECT AND MAINTAIN GARDEN EQUIPMENT. Clean metal tools with steel wool or a wire brush. Sharpen the blades of digging and pruning tools. Check watering cans and hoses for holes.
  • PLAN FOR NEW GARDEN PLANTINGS. Walk your garden to map out your needs and help you choose plants that will be successful in your space. Note the light, water & soil conditions, and available space in your planting areas.
  • DIG AND DIVIDE PERENNIALS. To manage size, rejuvenate, and make more plants, divide spring- and summer-blooming perennials early in the season when they’re not yet in bloom.
  • START SEEDS INDOORS. Most flower and veggie seeds can be started four to six weeks before the date of the last frost in your zone. Check seed packets for specific planting instructions.

Click here to open a printable checklist.

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