Spring Tips


  1. Be careful not to remove mulch from perennials too early! Wait until “tip time” when plants sprout to a few inches above ground.

  2. To prevent spread of diseases, mildew, crown rot etc., clean up old and dead debris around your plants and flower beds, but wait until the ground dries out a bit. Wet or damp soil also becomes compacted from walking — best to wait. If the soil becomes too compacted, it can be a chore to amend back to a good growing medium.

  3. If mulch is thick, gently remove most of it around the crown of the plant leaving a thin layer for continued protection and to serve as organic matter.

  4. Top-dress beds with compost or well-rotted manure. This will reduce weeds and help retain moisture throughout the growing season.

  5. Mid-April is a good time for transplanting and dividing perennials. It is best to wait until new growth is 2-4” high to ensure that plants will re-establish well.

  6. Spring flowering bulbs: After blooming, deadhead flowers to keep beds looking fresh. The foliage can be cut back once it has turned yellow or flopped over.


  1. Rake last year’s mulches off garden soil to let the warmth of the spring sun penetrate.

  2. Mulch garden pathways to suppress weeds (marsh straw works well).

Lawns, Trees, and Shrubs

  1. Finish pruning deciduous trees while they are still dormant (normally by the end of March). Don’t prune any spring blooming shrubs or trees if they haven’t bloomed yet.

  2. Know what you are about to prune (check pruning time so you don’t cut off your blossoms). Prune deciduous trees and shrubs that bloom in the summer. Shrubs that bloom in the spring (Lilacs, Forsythia, Mockorange, Viburnum, Weigela) should be pruned right after flowering (not now). Immediately after bloom (if needed), prune the following trees: Cherry, flowering Plum and Magnolia. Pines should only be pruned in spring before the new flush of growth (candles) reaches maturity. Prune up to 2/3 of the new candles if you want a more dense growth. Do not prune older wood.

  3. When turf is actively growing, call us to aerate your lawn by implementing a core aerifier. We can help with this.

  4. Do not mow lawns until 2-3” high. Roots are renewed in spring and initial top growth is important.

  5. Flowering branches can be brought inside for forcing. Good choices are crabapples, cherries, forsythia, and serviceberries. Change the water every other day and make clean slices above the nodes of the side branches.

Fruit and Berries

  1. Finish pruning trees and berry bushes while still dormant (normally through March).

  2. July-bearing raspberry canes should be thinned to 6” apart and tips removed. Cut out any fruiting canes left over from last year. Canes of all ever-bearing varieties can be cut down to the ground.

  3. Newly planted fruit trees benefit from a mulch of straw or compost during their first full season. Fertilization is not necessary and actually does more harm than good — including ill effects to the environment and as stormwater runoff into the lakes. Go with organic compost. It’s safer and more responsible.

  4. If frost should occur when fruit trees are in bloom, gently hose down branches in early morning hours.