Western Mountains and High Plains
Gradually Remove Mulch
Don't be in a big hurry to pull all the protective mulch away from the bases of perennials and shrubs. We can still get some extreme temperature fluctuations, and the mulch will protect the basal growth. Let the wisdom of nature guide you while getting the spring garden ready.
Finish Up Pruning
Try to get all apples, pears, crabapples, mountain ash, and other trees pruned before total leaf expansion and spring rains. These types of trees are more vulnerable to bacterial infection through pruning wounds and the bacteria are more active in rainy periods of spring.
Plant Bare-Root Nursery Stock
As soon as the soil has thawed and isn't too wet, plant bare-root roses, shrubs, small trees, grapes, raspberries, asparagus, rhubarb, and vines. They are economical to buy and will get off to an early and strong start. Add a generous shovel of compost to the planting holes and work in deeply.
Sow Cool-Tolerant Seeds
Sow the seeds of cool-season flowers and vegetables directly into the prepared garden soil. Spring rains and even light snows will provide moisture and hasten germination. Warm-season vegetables and flowers can be started indoors if you have the right growing conditions.
Choose Healthy Nursery Stock
When you decide on a shrub or tree, slide the root ball out of the container so you can inspect the roots. Healthy roots are white and vigorous. Avoid waterlogged soil mixes with the stench of swamp, or root balls with little or no signs of root growth.