Spring is an exciting time of year for me. I love to watch for the first signs of my daffodils poking through the earth. That means it won't be too long before I can get back to my gardening. But before I get too excited. I have to remember that this is also a time for getting the garden back in shape after a long hard winter. I gather my rake, pruning shears, wheelbarrow and trash bags prepared for the spring cleanup. I take my time working in small sections at a time. I have to remember that I have been in hibernation of sorts all winter too and my body has to get back in shape for all the bending, lifting and carrying I have to do.
I start with pruning. Spring is one of the best times for pruning, but not all plants should be pruned at this time of year. Some trees and bushes will be blooming soon and if I get too crazy with the pruners I will be cutting away those branches that produce the blooms. I can get information from my gardening books or on the Internet, if I'm unsure of how and when to prune. It's sometimes hard to cut back my favorite trees and bushes, but in the long run, pruning will give them a renewed energy that will have them looking better than ever.
I trim away any left over dead plants that I missed in the fall and rake up all the debris I can. Bugs and diseases may have hibernated here and can be hiding in the debris, so I will be doing the plants a big favor by disposing of the source of potential harm.
I usually try to use as little chemicals as possible in my yard and gardens, so I try to keep up the weeding by hand. This is the time to look for those early emerging weeds and remove them before they get out of hand. After removing the emerging weeds I lay down a good layer of mulch to keep the weeds to a minimum throughout the summer.
Once my perennials start to emerge later in the spring, I start thinning out overgrown areas and plant the divided pieces in other areas. Dividing these overgrown plants will help them, just as pruning helps bushes and trees, while giving me new plants for other areas of the garden.
Spring clean up can be a daunting task, but it is worth it in the long run for a beautiful yard and garden all summer.