Garden To-Do’s to Accomplish This Spring!

Garden To-Do’s to Accomplish This Spring!

spring garden

"Spring is the time of plans and projects." - Leo Tolstoy

Spring is around the corner and it’s time to get those early garden chores started. The air may yet be chilly and the ground more mud than greenery, but there is plenty to do! Pave the way for your plants to jump out of the ground!

While it may be tempting to jump right into planting, there are many other tasks to take care of first while Ma Nature gets over her fickle temper tantrums in terms of weather and temperature swings.

Get your garden ready for the rest of the year so you can bask in a hammock more and labor less with these few key spring prep steps!

Late Winter & Early Spring Prep!

Those muddy, rainy, temperamental days of early spring are the best days for plan and prep! While staring out at the gray days and receding snow - stay warm indoors and get the planning stages done in the comfort of your home!

garden tools

  • Start a garden journal or download the Smart Plant & Tree Care app!
  • Start a yard cleanup checklist
  • Draw out a planting plan/layout of your garden beds and plan any new additions
  • Order plants and seeds - Nature Hills is here to help with that!
  • Stock up on supplies like potting soil, fertilizers, and yard waste bags
  • Get seeds started indoors
  • Figure square footage and order/pick up your fresh mulch, compost, and fertilizer
  • Plan out irrigation for garden beds or call up your Sprinkler company for a checkup
  • Buy your tools, clothing, and supplies so you have everything you need ready to go

Spring Outdoor Prep

Once temperatures and weather allow you to get outdoors a bit more, strap on the garden boots and gloves, then head out for these chores that are so much easier to perform when there aren’t tons of leaves out.

grandmother and granddaughter gardening together

  • Sharpen and clean/oil garden tools
  • Organize/clean up storage sheds/tool storage, and take inventory
  • Perform soil testing and any pH testing for your soil
  • Pick a warm day and put away the holiday decorations and lights
  • Repair garden structures and refresh paint and stain on drier days
  • Clean out gutters, ponds, and water features. Sanitize bird baths and bird feeders
  • Perform maintenance on sidewalks and driveways or paths
  • Take down snow fencing
  • Spray plants frequently browsed by deer - repeat according to package directions
  • Get the Snowblower ready to be put away for the summer ( don’t put it away just yet)
  • Survey outdoor landscape lighting and perform maintenance if needed
  • Take any garden art, structures, décor, outdoor seating, and barbecues out of storage
  • Give outdoor containers a cleaning, fresh soil, and a fresh coat of protective paint

Prepare Garden Beds

Once the threat of hard freezes has passed, now it’s time to get your perennials and garden beds readied for their approaching new spring leaves! 

Garden Bed

  • Rake or blow leaves & debris out of garden beds, garden corners & from around plants
  • Clean up after Fido or outdoor cats
  • Rake and clean out shrub interiors of collected leaves and other leafy debris
  • Remove any early emerging weeds now that the soil is easily workable
  • Lay down preemergent seed treatments to stop weed seeds in their tracks
  • Spread compost, manure, and fertilizer, plus refresh arborist mulch to its 3-4 inch depth
  • Tidy up garden edges, paths, landscape rocks/bricks/pavers, and other hardscaping
  • Set up irrigation and drip irrigation while plants are still small or dormant
  • Till and start new garden beds if the soil isn’t soggy & create new raised beds & berms

Loosely pile clean and disease-free leaves and stems to a back, out-of-the-way area for any beneficial insect eggs and cocoons that have yet to hatch, so they have a chance to hatch without waking up in a yard waste bag. 

Or, wait until you’ve had several days around 50 degrees or higher to allow them to hatch before cleaning garden beds. Wait to spray for weeds like dandelions and clover so early emerging pollinators have food without pesticides or fertilizer mixed in their nectar.

Plant Prep!

While plants are still dormant or barely starting to emerge in the early spring, it’s the best time to get them ready to grow and bloom their very best! A bit of prep now means months of enjoyment and allows you to kick up your heels!


  • Prune down perennials that were not pruned last fall and remove dead leaves
  • Prune some non-spring flowering shrubs and trees - removing suckers/water growth
  • Renewal pruning as needed.
  • Use the Scratch Test on deciduous plants to know where to trim off winter dieback.
  • Be careful not to prune Oak trees if you are in an area with Oak wilt (check with your local County Extension Office to see when Oaks can be pruned in your area)
  • Un-winter your Rose bushes and prune Roses 
  • Train Climbing Vines and Climbing Rose canes - refresh supports and ties
  • Divide perennials, Ornamental grasses, and vines like Clematis, if needed
  • Check ties and supports on new trees
  • Reposition plants lifted from frost heave
  • Spray fruit trees with dormant oils and pretreat for spring pests. 
  • Treat for ticks, fleas, and ants if they’re an issue in your area
  • Plant spring bulbs for summer blooms!
  • Survey any plants that may have died over the winter and plan their replacements
  • Tie up Ornamental Grasses with twines or bungee cords and cut back, cleaning out the crown of dead debris
  • Water newly established plants well if it has been a dry spring
  • Get your berry bush canes and fruiting shrubs pruned and/or trained

Lawn Prep!

Help your turf grass and lawn jump into spring as green as possible and ready to grow lush and strong. Strong lawns can fight off lawn issues and fight back weeds. Touch base with your lawn and landscaping company to prepare for the growing season, or if you don’t have a company that comes out take these steps each spring.

lawn mower

  • Treat and pretreat weeds 
  • Fertilize with slow-release lawn fertilizer
  • Topdress with compost or new topsoil if needed
  • Get the mower blades sharpened and give it and the weed wacker a tuneup
  • Treat bare spots in the lawn to prevent weeds from moving in
  • Make your first lawn cut just short enough to remove the old brown leaves without scalping, then set your mower up to 2-3 inches for the season
  • Treat for grubs and other lawn pests
  • Dethatch and aerate cool-season lawns once they are actively growing
  • Overseed to thicken thinning lawns or plant grass plugs

Get Ready for Spring!

perennial garden

Before you can start frolicking through the Tulips, get your garden ready for a bountiful spring, summer, and fall! So peruse the Nature Hills website and get those wish lists ordered while you prep and plan everything else! We’ll take care of your plants and ship them to you as soon as the weather and temperatures are right for your Hardiness zone and the proper planting time for your area!

Then with the hard part out of the way, you and your garden will be ready to kick back and enjoy the results of your hard labor with a relaxing and stress-free landscape!

Happy Planting!


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