Spring Clean Up in Four Easy Steps
First, learn what plants should NOT be pruned in early spring!
Avoid pruning weigela, viburnum, rhododendron, azalea, osmanthus, and forsythia. Prune these plants in late spring or summer, after they have flowered.
The only exception to this
Prune any perennials from last year. Ornamental grasses and sedum flower heads are a few examples. Removing dead plant material in early spring will allow sun and air to penetrate the plant. In turn, the plant will grow more vigorously.
Clean Out Flower Beds
After all spring pruning is finished, it is time to clean the flowerbeds.
Obviously, remove clippings from pruning. Additionally, clear large branches that may have fallen from ice and snow. The ground does not have to be 100% free of debris, but make sure deep piles of fall leaves are collected.
Mulch is more aesthetic when there are not deep piles of debris underneath.
Once all of the debris is cleaned up, pull or treat any weeds. There should not be very many if you are gardening in the early spring. Weeds are much more manageable if you are able to get this head start.
Before we mulch, I like to redefine the flower beds with a deep edge. This step is not necessary, but it really distinguishes the garden.
A deep edge can be cut with a straight edge shovel. Simply work around the perimeters of the flower beds. Take the shovel at a 90º angle and dig about 3” deep.
Try to avoid enlarging flower beds. We usually edge flower beds just fractions of an inch inside of the perimeter. This ensures that the flower beds do not grow larger every spring.
After edging, collect the debris, or break it up in the flower beds.
Add Fresh Mulch
This is the final process in our spring clean up. We like to use mulch from Hollins Organic because they have a great product at an affordable price.
Choose mulch that is fine in texture. I believe this has more aesthetic value. I also like to avoid dyed mulches. This is a personal opinion, but I think the color fades rapidly after the spring. Intense summer sun bleaches dyed mulch, leaving an unnatural look.
Try to spread the mulch 1-3” deep. Any deeper, and there could be problems with insects and moisture retention. Anything less than
Do not heap mulch around the base of trees or plants. This retains too much moisture and can be harmful to the pant.
As you get close to the edge of the flower bed, only spread a thin layer of mulch. I like to leave the lip of the edge exposed to accentuate the garden.
After spreading all of the mulch, take the extra time to smooth everything out. We turn a leaf rake upside down, and gently brush the mulch with the back of the rake.