Spring is the time of year when many gardeners wonder about pruning and tidying up the garden. While it may be tempting to trim everything to make it look tidy this is not the best way to go. It is important to know what plants you are growing, when they like to be pruned and if they should be allowed to go to seed or not.
A popular plant, for both rose and herb gardens, is lavender. After a long winter, lavender plants can look scraggly. The foliage, which will be grey can look dead to many people, however rest assured it will green up shortly. Spring is not the time to trim lavender plants and can even kill them if you do trim them. The best time to trim lavender is directly after it blooms. Lavender should not be mulched with wood chips either.
Spring blooming shrubs should not be pruned either until after they have bloomed. If you prune them before they bloom you will be cutting off many of the buds.
Spring blooming bulbs such as tulips and daffodils should be deadheaded as soon as the flowers fade. If the flowers are left on, seed will set. This will take away the energy that would be put into the bulbs, which will make them have smaller flowers next year. The leaves should not be cut off of these spring blooming bulbs either until they are completely brown and dry.
In the herb garden, plants such as thyme and savory should be trimmed. This will help keep them from becoming leggy later in the season. When you trim these fragrant plants be sure to take the clipping inside to use in your culinary creations.
Watch for iris borers in the perennial garden. If you find any, destroy them immediately. If they are in the leaves you may be able to save the rhizome but once they have made it into the rhizome it is best to destroy the entire plant. Other chores in the perennial garden include pruning asters, mums and sedums as soon as they get 6” tall. This will keep them bushier so they don’t flop over and create more blooms.
Finally, help conserve water in your garden by adding a pinch of Soil-Moist or a similar product to the planting hole of water loving annuals such as begonia, impatiens and petunias. Take the time to mix it into the soil well and allow it to settle before planting. You can also add this to containers and hanging baskets to help them retain water.
Following these spring gardening tips should help insure a successful garden this coming year.