The official start of spring is less than a month away, and yards seem to be beckoning gardeners to come out and play. But there are a few tasks to complete before the growing season hits full steam. So we offer a calendar of what to do in your yard and when to do it, in order to save maintenance this summer. After all, you should enjoy your garden instead of fretting over it.
3: Clean birdhouses, bring hoses, outdoor furniture and pots out of storage.
5: Clean and prepare beds. Pull or spray weeds before they seed.
6: Prune roses and fruit trees.
8: Transplant trees and shrubs before buds have swelled.
11: Dust hot pepper flakes around plants to combat slugs and snails.
13: Plant trees and shrubs.
16: Fertilize trees and shrubs.
17: Look for a four-leaf clover in celebration of St. Patrick's Day. Cut down mums, sedum, ornamental grasses and other plants that provided texture over the winter.
19: Build up soil for vegetable garden by adding manure, peat moss or compost.
20: First day of spring! Plant some primroses and pansies.
23: Sow seeds for summer-blooming annuals indoors.
25: Start seeds of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, marigolds, zinnias and petunias indoors.
26: Plant strawberries, blueberries, currants, boysenberries and grapes.
27: It's Easter. Give someone an Easter lily today!
31: Trim liriope, large herbs and mint. Prune winter jasmine after flowering.
1: April Fools' Day! No kidding, go pull weeds.
2: Plant dahlia bulbs, gladiolas and lilies.
3: Daylight-saving time begins. More light to garden by!
5: Sharpen lawn mower blade. Prune injured and dead limbs on trees.
7: Plant rose bushes before new growth emerges.
9: Plant perennial vegetables such as asparagus, rhubarb and horseradish. Plant peas, carrots, spinach, cauliflower, onion and cabbage as well.
13: Prune evergreens, juniper and cypress.
15: Plants that live in a water feature should be brought up from their winter emersion, cleaned, re-potted and set.
19: Fertilize hybrid tea roses.
22: Divide and transplant perennials. Give some to a friend for Earth Day.
29: It's Arbor Day. Go plant a tree -- or at least hug one!
30: Plant annual seeds such as aster, cosmos, marigolds and zinnias.
1: It's May Day. Give a bouquet of flowers to someone anonymously. Do some weeding.
3: Repair lawn, till, fill, tamp, water and cover with mulch on all bare spots.
5: Set stakes next to taller flowers now, this will support the plants and make them easier to train.
7: Summer flowering perennials such as delphiniums, phlox, daylilies and primroses may all be planted.
8: Mother's Day! Mow her lawn, but be sure to set the mower at a high level to help choke out the weeds.
11: Early blooming deciduous shrubs such as forsythias, weigela and spirea should be pruned back.
13: Work lime into the soil around hydrangeas to produce pink flowers, or aluminum sulphate for blue blooms.
15: Snapdragons, dianthus, petunias, geraniums, fushia and impatiens may be planted.
17: Plant tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, pumpkins and peppers.
21: Prune lilacs lightly after they are done blooming, then feed with 10-10-10 fertilizer.
23: Remove wilting seed heads from rhododendrons and azaleas; the plant's energy will go to next year's flowers and foliage.
25: Watch roses carefully for aphids and other pests. Control slugs and snails.
29: Cold-sensitive flowering plants, such as salvia, zinnias and marigolds, may be planted now.
30: Memorial Day! Collect some flowers for a memorial. Harvest asparagus and rhubarb.
31: Tropical plants may now be outside; adjust them gradually to the change.