How to prepare your garden for spring
As the weather starts to warm up and we quickly approach the hot summer months, your gardening time will soon be taken up with pruning, watering, sowing and many other activities. As everything starts to come back to life, now is the perfect time for preparing your garden for spring.
Planning your garden for spring in the early spring months is essential for a successful summer of growing and a beautiful garden that you can enjoy throughout the summer and into the autumn months. Different parts of spring will require different maintenance tasks so we have divided our tips into early spring, mid spring and late spring to help you know when is the best time to perform each one.
Early spring gardening tasks
One | Tidy up your flower beds and borders
Tidying up your flower beds and removing weeds is an essential first step for getting your garden ready for the upcoming spring season. Your new and existing plants need a tidy, clear space to grow and thrive once the warmer weather arrives. Make sure you bin or burn any weeds you do pull up. If you compost them, the seeds may germinate and leave you with a huge weed problem later in the year.
When you’re removing weeds, you also need to clear up any dead leaves and debris from your flower beds and borders and add them to your compost pile so they can break down. Now is also the perfect time to cut back the dead growth of deciduous grasses and herbaceous perennials.
Two | Prepare the soil
Once the frost has lifted and you have cleared your flower beds and borders, the soil in your garden will now be workable so you can start preparing your flower beds for new growth. In the winter, soil becomes more compacted so before you start planting, it’s important to till or turn the soil while adding compost and mulch to give your new plants the best chance to thrive throughout the summer.
Three | Complete early planting
Spring is the best time to start your first wave of planting. At this point, you can start plants indoors to get them ready to plant when the frost has passed and the weather has started to warm up.
Four | Mow your lawn
You won’t have had to mow your lawn over the winter but you should cut it for the first time in spring. Turn the mower up to a higher level that you would usually use and mow the lawn a few times at this level to give your grass the health, strength and rigidity it needs to look great throughout the season ahead.
Five | Give your greenhouse a spring clean
To make room for all the seedlings and cuttings you’ll want to grow throughout the spring, you should clean out your greenhouse. Start by washing the outside of the glass to get rid of any dirt, moss and algae that’s built up over the colder months. This will make sure as much light can get in as possible and kills potential homes for pests and diseases which might be able to survive in nooks and crannies. Then you can clean and tidy the inside to make sure everything’s ready for those early growers.
Six | Freshen up fences, gates and trellises
While you’re cleaning your greenhouse, it’s the best time to get other maintenance jobs out of the way too. Have a look at any fence panels, gates and trellises in your garden, check for sign of weather damage and decay and freshen them up where needed. Fixing these now will give you more time to dedicate to your plants in the spring and summer.
Seven | Divide your perennials
Early spring, before growth really starts, is the best time to start dividing your perennial plants. This is a great way to fill your garden with more plants and colours without having to go out and buy from new plants.
Dividing perennials every year will not only provide you with even more plants, it’s also one of the best ways to keep them healthy year after year. If your perennials grow in a large clump, after a few years, the middle can thin out after a few years and leave a bald spot. Dividing the plants up can help to encourage new growth.
Eight | Add mulch to perennials
Not only will adding mulch to your perennials help to keep your garden looking fresh and new for the new season, it also helps the soil to retain moisture and helps to keep weeds under control.
Nine | Prune trees and shrubs
If you didn’t do it before the winter season set in, now is a great time to give them a tidy up. Make sure you start to prune them before the buds start to bloom or you might find that it won’t flower as well.
Ten | Remove garden pests
To save a huge amount of time in the late spring and summer, now is the perfect time to make sure you have removed any hibernating pests. Check the crowns of your perennial plants and hunt down snails, slugs and aphid colonies that have been dormant over the winter. Finding them now before they become active again is much easier than when they start to move again.
Eleven | Add or maintain your water butts
You might already have a water butt so, if you do, you should make sure it’s all in working order. If you don’t, winter or early spring is the best time to install them! Harvesting rainwater is key to environmentally friendly gardening and the majority of the year’s rainfall occurs during the winter so it’s the perfect time to start collecting. Demand for water peaks in the summer and means that many water supply companies have to use groundwater reserves and streams to keep up with demand, harming the environment and costing consumers more. In addition, rainfall is the best type of water for plants and will help them to thrive.
Mid spring gardening tasks
Twelve | Plant new perennials and cold hardy annuals
Freshly planted perennials will need time to establish themselves before the hot summer weather arrives. By mid-spring, the weather might not be very warm yet but cool-season annuals such as pansies or snapdragons will help to add some colour to your borders and patio pots before the summer weather hits.
Thirteen | Plant new shrubs and trees
As soon as the ground is no longer frozen, you can start to plant and new trees or shrubs in your garden. Make sure you do this as early as possible to give them time to get established.
Late spring gardening tasks
Fourteen | Deadhead flowers
Remove spent flowers from spring blossoming flowers and bulbs this will encourage plants to either start new growth or help them to store energy for next year rather than use it to make seeds.
Fifteen | Buy and plant summer annuals
Now is the time to find your summer annuals and plant them in your garden. Have look for colourful petunias, geraniums or begonias to brighten up your flower beds and patio pots.
Sixteen | Plant summer flowering bulbs
Now that your flowerbeds are ready and filled with fresh compost, you’re ready to plant your summer flowering bulbs. Make sure you plant them a little deeper than you would in a pot and wait until the warmer months for them to start poking through the soil
Seventeen | Be patient!
As you feel the weather warm up, it can be tempting to do too much too soon but it’s important not to rush your plants and give them an easy transition. Move seedlings outside and water them in their trays for a few weeks to give them a chance to acclimatise to the outside temperature before you plant them properly.