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Things to Do in the Garden


Wondering what to do in the garden right now, especially those of you who are stuck at home? Well wonder no more, because we’ve prepared a long but by no means complete list of all the tasks you can tackle now. And we’ve provided links to our Shop Site so you can just click and shop for what you need. Here goes.

What to Plant

Fescue and ryegrass seed at least through the end of the month.

Deciduous trees and shrubs of all kinds.

Conifers — Arborvitae, cedar, cypress, false cypress, pine, juniper, spruce, and yew.

Broadleaf evergreens — Abelia, azalea, boxwood, Distyllium, Gardenia, holly, Nandina, and Photinia.

Perennials — All of them.

Annuals — All of them, but realize they need protection if temps drop below 45 degrees.

Herbs — All of them, but be prepared to protect basil, cilantro, dill, and lemongrass if temps drop below 45 degrees.

Vegetables — Think twice before planting warm-season crops such as beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, melons, peppers, squash, and tomatoes. Forecasts are calling for temps in the 30s next week, and that would destroy or severely damage those crops. Transplants will be fine on a sunny windowsill for another week, but if you’ve already planted, cover your plants with blankets and hope for the best.

Containers — You can grow practically anything and everything in containers, from trees and shrubs to annuals and perennials to vegetables and herbs. And if cold temperatures threaten, you can move them into the house or garage.

What to Fertilize

Pretty much everything, since all plants — including houseplants — are entering their active growth phase. Turf grasses too. But wait until azaleas finish blooming to fertilize.

What to Prune

Conifers and broadleaf evergreens (see list above) — Generally, these plants don’t need much pruning, and if you get carried away you can do more harm than good. Just give them a light haircut if necessary.  Arborvitae, hollies, and junipers can be sheared to control their shape. In the case of pines, pinch or snap the candles (the new growth at the tips of branches) in half to create a bushier plant or leave them alone if you want the branches to grow longer.

Spring-flowering trees and shrubs — Once the flowers have faded, you can go ahead and prune. This includes azaleas, crabapple, dogwood, forsythia, quince, redbud, and saucer magnolia.

But Wait…There’s More!

Mulch — Get those beds mulched. A two- to four-inch layer is ideal, but don’t tuck the mulch all the up to the base of plants. That can lead to rot.

Make more plants — This is a fine time to dig and divide a number of perennials, especially hostas and ornamental grasses.

Monitor for pests and diseases — Keep an eye out for insect invasion (especially aphids, thrips, and red spider mites) and fungal diseases. Spray before things get out of control.

Containers — If you haven’t replaced the potting mx in your containers for a couple of years, consider doing so now. At the very least, you should remove one-third of the mix and add fresh stuff.

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