Mulch Shrub Borders
Before you're inundated with garden chores this spring, take some time to weed the shrub borders and apply a fresh layer of mulch. If you're using bark mulch, sprinkle some high-nitrogen fertilizer around the plants first. This helps the bark decay without using nitrogen that the plants need.
Prune both evergreen and deciduous hedges now. If they're very overgrown, trim them back by half, then fertilize and keep them watered and mulched. They will send out lush new growth and be full and beautiful again by midsummer.
Grow Everbearing Strawberries
For a different twist on strawberries, try growing the fraises des bois this year. These everbearing plants produce berries that are only about one-half inch long, but their flavor is intense and wonderful. They form bushy plants that look great as a low, edging border when spaced 1 foot apart.
Check Garden Accoutrements
Check, repair, and repaint, as necessary, all fences, arbors, lattice work, and garden furniture. Getting to this work early gives you a chance to evaluate what you might want to replace or add to your landscape. Arbors can give the garden a focal point, while lattice work gives it height and dimension.
Although it leads to more mowing, fertilizing your lawn now will help the grass thrive and be a thick, lush carpet this summer. Keeping the grass healthy is a good way to keep weeds under control without the use of herbicides. Spread about 2 1/2 pounds of 5-10-5 fertilizer per 100 square feet evenly over the lawn. Water well.