End of Winter/Early Spring Garden Chores

For all you folks in the 'wack March 26-28 is the 8th Annual Outdoor Decor Yard and Garden Show at the Chilliwack Heritage Park

Things to do in the garden. Seeing as the weathers been a bit wacky, I'm going to go with a late winter/ early spring combo of chores Wink

- Mulch those garden beds! A good decomposed bark mulch is a great thing- it gives the garden that lovely tidy and finished look that only a nice black mulch can. And the weed suppression is a great perk too Wink
The plants benefit too- mulch helps keep the soil warm when the temps are low and cool when the temps are high. The mulch also contributes the organic matter content of the soil- O.M is important in that it helps the soil retain moisture and nutrients, as well as encourages microbial activity (all them hardworking little critters that make a healthy soil).
So weed/ clean out any left over debris, and add mulch! A good rule of thumb is approximately 1-2" of mulch (I find one inch is more than adequate, but it you only add mulch every few years, go with a bit more). And don't forget to keep the mulch away from the trunks of trees and shrubs- another rule of thumb, for every inch of trunk diameter, is how many inches the mulch should be away from the trunk.

- And while I'm on the topic of not burying trees... now's a great time to unbury the trees and shrubs in your yard! When you look at the bottom of your trees- the part that goes into the ground- you should see a gentle sloping outward of the trunk before it disappears into the ground. This is what we call the root flare. The trunk should not be going straight into the ground. We want a good root flare visible because this indicates where the roots should then start. It's an area of high oxygen exchange, and when trees are buried, they will eventually decline in health. Buried root collars lead to root and trunk rots, trunk girdling and slow suffocation. Some trees are more sensitive then others- one can die in a summer, while another will slowly decline over years. Sooo, get out your little spade and get to digging! You'll likely come across advantageous roots if the tree has been buried for a while- it's attempt to get oxygen to what's buried- cut these off with a pair of hand pruners as they will just become desiccated otherwise (and no, they don't indicate the root collar!).
How does a tree get buried? Well, mostly through ignorance, but in general each time a tree is handled, it goes a bit deeper into the ground. So by the time you get that tree from the nursery that's been transplanted five times already- well, it's already well and buried! So it needs to be excavated upon planting.

OK, I have suppressed the need to rant... I rant about buried trees...

- Now's the time to get your new trees and shrubs planted. Add any vines and/or herbaceous perennials you want to add to the garden as well.
- It's also about time to start sowing your seeds (indoors). Remember that soil temperatures need to stay at or above 7*c to ensure germination. This isn't usually a problem indoors, but if you're starting in an unheated greenhouse, get yourself a seedling heating mat, available at most garden centers.
- If you have snowdrops and want to divide them, do so once they flowers have faded.

- If you haven't gotten them yet, go get seeds!

-Get your summer flowering bulbs now! Most garden centers start having them available around now, and if you want a good selection, get hoppin'!

- If you keep labels on your plants, check then now while the garden is bare to see it they need replacing.

- Get some pruning done if necessary. Lots of folks will tell you lots of things about when to prune what plants. In truth- totally doesn't matter when. The plant doesn't care. The only thing you may want to consider is if the plant has flower buds, that you might want to wait until after flowering so you don't lose the show! Also keep in mind the sap is starting to flow in the trees right now, and some tend to gush a fair bit (think maple syrup!). So if you don't want a mess on your front walkway, don't prune that overhanging maple branch just yet Wink
Roses- the rule of thumb is to prune them when the forsythia in your area is blooming. Prune them to a healthy outward facing bud.

- Cut back any ornamental grasses and perennials that still need it.

-Lawn...ugh (I am not a lawn lover, but I will still drop some info)
Almost time to whip out that mower! Check it over to make sure it's in working order, give it an oil change and sharpen the blades (apparently this is important for healthy grass *rolls eyes*). Remember to cut the grass long to ensure deep healthy root development.
Also, do any edging along the lawn where it's creeping into the garden beds or onto the driveway.

- This is also the time to make sure all your gardening tools are in good working order, sharpened and oiled. Clean out your greenhouse or garden shed or what not, toss out what you no longer need and organize!

- If you have a pond, fish out all those nasty rotting leaves...

- Get your mason bee and bird houses up!

- And most importantly, enjoy the emerging blooms and buds and all the little critters that accompany them!

[Image: eonlbue.jpg]

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