Spring is Here! Time to Dig out the Spring Gardening Checklist

As temperatures rise, and the soil thaws, your garden begins waking up. It’s time to prep, plant, prune, prepare beds, and care for your lawn.


Prep the beds. Remove winter mulch or, if well composted, work into the top layer of the soil. Work in some leaf mold or well-rotted manure, too.

Prune. Now is the time to trim fruit trees if you didn’t prune in winter. Prune before buds begin to break into bloom or you’ll stress the tree and get a tiny crop (or possibly none).

Perform basic maintenance. Check stonework for frost heaves. Check and clean the deck or patio now so you don’t have to do it later; make any repairs.

Start seeds indoors. You’ve spent the winter reading seed and plant catalogs, so now it’s time to make your choices and plant some seeds.

Plant veggies. Hardy vegetables, such as onions, potatoes, artichokes, and some lettuces, should be planted now.

Divide perennials. Before plants have begun spring growth is a good time to divide many perennials. Share some divisions with your friends this year.

Repair raised beds. Fix trellises and fencing. Soggy winter soil puts a strain on raised beds; sometimes a stake will rot and give way. Trellises and fencing are easiest to repair now, with less growth to work around and fewer roots to disturb.


Build new flower beds. This year, install complementary shrubs offering blooms throughout the season.

Stop feeding the birds. Take down and clean feeders, and put them away until fall.

Enjoy the spring show. Resolve to plant more spring-flowering bulbs next fall.

Plant hardy annuals. Sow seeds outdoors or transplant seedlings.

Apply mulch. If you mulch now, you’ll have next-to-no weeding come summer.

Thin dead foliage of ornamental grasses and ferns. Pull plant skeletons. Once new growth begins, it’s harder to thin ornamentals without damaging the plant. And if you didn’t get around to it last fall, pull the old tomato, squash and other plant skeletons to clear the bed for planting.


Deadhead bulbs. Remove spent blossoms from spring-flowering bulbs; let foliage die back without removing it.

Go shopping. Pick out flats of your favorite bedding plants. Remember to pick ones not yet in bloom for stronger plants.

Prune spring-flowering shrubs. Trim away spent blooms, and thin too-thick branches to rejuvenate older plants.

Pull young spring weeds. Any weeds that appear will be easiest to pull now, as the roots are shallow.

Prepare your lawn for spring. Rake the lawn to remove dead growth and winter debris. Re-seed bare patches. Pre-emergent herbicides may be applied now.

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