Every year when spring returns the heart races a bit faster for every gardener and landscaper. The return of spring brings warmer temperatures, longer days and a time for a fresh start. This year though may be a bit more interesting due to last fall and winter being drier and our cooler temps earlier this spring. Definitely proof that Mother Nature can always throw us a curveball.
But while the weather has seemed to be slow in warming up this year, spring is still a time of renewal. Whether it’s planting new plants, cleaning up after winter, planning for the vegetable garden, or simply making preparations for the new growing season, spring is the time to refresh your landscape and vegetable garden for the year ahead.
This spring while we still will be doing more normal tasks and projects in our landscapes and gardens, the major issue we all will face is reacting to the drier weather, at least until more normal spring rains arrive. Well, at least we hope they do. Until they do, consider some supplementary watering to help your evergreens and newly emerging plants push through until we start seeing more rain.
While our thoughts may be focused on the drier weather there are a number of standard projects we should be accomplishing as we do most years. While many first think of spring and planting, there is definitely some cleanup work in your landscape. Rake up any final leaves from winter, cut back any perennials, including ornamental grasses left up for winter interest, and do any light trimming as needed to remove dead branches. Then add a good dose of pre-emergent weed preventer and thicken your mulch to around 2-3 inches thick to fight future weeds in your landscape beds. By cleaning your landscape you help prevent diseases and weeds, and you are giving your plants the best opportunity to look their best, as well as grow their best for the growing season. In addition, that mulch layer, if applied to the recommended depth will also help keep valuable moisture where it can do the most good in the root zone of our plants versus evaporating into the air.
Once your landscape beds are looking their best, it’s time to consider new plants. Whether it’s a new shade tree for the yard, a few new perennials, a brand new landscape bed, or doing some seeding in your lawn, spring is a great time to establish new plants for the future or to replace plants lost in the last few years. And if you are unsure of what to plant then getting assistance from the experts at your local garden center like Campbell’s may make your spring a lot easier. Do remember to wait until after mid April to do any lawn seeding, and to get closer or even into May to plant more tender perennials or vegetables in the garden.
Once you’ve made plans for what you want to plant, the only thing left is to get them installed. Whether you pick out great plants from a garden center to plant yourself or work with an experienced landscape designer like our design staff at Campbell’s then have a landscape crew install it for you, there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction once the plants are planted.
And please don’t forget about properly preparing your planting areas before planting and to care for your plants after planting. Many times, besides buying good quality plant material, the preparation before and the care after planting are the most important parts of achieving success with your new plantings.
One final note about the effects we may face from the drier weather last fall and through the winter. Many are calling us at Campbell’s worried that we may see issues with plants as they wake up from winter. Only time will tell for sure whether you will have plants or lawn you will need to replace or if the plants are just stressed and will recover with some watering and care this spring. While the odds are higher to see some plant issues this spring, in general Mother Nature gives our plants the ability to thrive and survive even with problematic weather. Do keep an eye on your plants though and if you see issues talk to a nursery professional for the best recommendations for your situation. Most times though with some care and watering this spring, sooner than later on the watering, your plants should be fine.
Overall, remember that every spring is a time to welcome the new growing season and to enjoy the warmth of the days and the beauty of your landscape, as there’s nothing quite like a beautiful spring after a long Nebraska winter.
– Andy Campbell is manager of Campbell’s Nurseries Landscape Department and a Lancaster County Farm Bureau Member. Campbell’s, a family owned Nebraska business since 1912, offers assistance for all your landscaping and gardening needs at either of its two Lincoln garden centers or through their landscape design office.