Every year when spring arrives 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. And, while last year it arrived rather early, this year it seems Mother Nature has decided to sleep in a bit longer.
Spring is always a time of renewal. Whether it’s planting new plants, cleaning up after winter, preparing the vegetable garden, or simply making plans for the new growing season, spring is definitely the time to refresh your lawn, landscape, and vegetable garden for the year ahead.
This spring while we will be doing more normal tasks and projects in our landscapes and gardens, the major issue will face is reacting to the later than normal arriving spring, at least until we reach early May when the weather should average out then as we move toward summer.
First on my list to be accomplishing in April is some watering. While we did receive some rain so far this spring don’t forget about doing some watering. Consider watering to help your evergreens and newly emerging plants push through until we start seeing more frequent spring rains or if you have an underground sprinkler system until you have it operational with safer warmer temperatures. While the odds are slim of more freezing temperatures consider holding off on the underground system until early May.
While our first recommendations are focused on the watering there are a number of other more standard projects to accomplish this spring. First, while many first think of spring and planting, there is always some cleanup work to accomplish in your landscape each spring. Rake up any final leaves from winter, cut back any perennials, including ornamental grasses left up for winter interest, and accomplish some light trimming as needed to remove dead branches. By cleaning your landscape, you help prevent diseases & weeds, and you are giving your plants the best opportunity to look their best, as well as grow their best, for the growing season.
Once the cleanup has occurred next add a good dose of a pre-emergent weed preventer, such as readily available Preen or similar, and then thicken your wood mulch to two to three inches thick to help fight future weeds in your landscape beds. In addition, that mulch layer once 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. Especially as we reach summer temperatures sure to arrive before we know it.
Once your landscape beds are looking their best, it’s time to consider new plantings. Whether it’s a new shade tree for the yard, new blooming 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 should make your spring a lot easier. Do remember to wait until at least middle to later April to do any lawn seeding as the seed won’t germinate without warmer soil temperatures.
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 later arriving spring weather. While the odds are lesser that we will receive another freeze, if we do and you see some plant issues this spring, don’t worry too much. Mother Nature gives our plants the ability to thrive and survive even with problematic weather. Do keep an eye on your plants though and talk to a nursery professional if you see issues for the best recommendations for your situation. Most times though with some care and watering this spring and early summer your plants should be fine.
Overall, remember that spring, once it arrives for good, is a wonderful time of year for renewal. Plus, I don’t know about you but to me, there isn’t anything quite like a beautiful warm spring after another long Nebraska winter.
Andy Campbell is the manager of Campbell’s Nurseries Landscape Department, 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 their two Lincoln garden centers or through their landscape design office. www.campbellsnursery.com or follow them on Facebook at: Facebook.com/CampbellsNursery.