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Outdoor Plants

Spring Gardening Checklist

March 15, 2021 4 min read

We have been counting down the days for spring, and it’s finally here! In this blog post, we covered the tools and seasonal tips to prepare you for any gardening tasks.

Make a Plan

Always check to see if the plant will thrive in your zone if you are adding any new trees or perennials to your outdoor area.

Don’t forget we have Landscape Design Services who would love to help you get started on your DIY project or leave the dirty work to us. Take a look at our free downloadable landscape plans for inspiration.

Manicured House and Garden displaying annual and perennial gardens in full bloom.

If you grew tomatoes, peppers, or potatoes last season, we suggest rotating to a different crop like zucchini, cucumbers, beans, or peas. This will help avoid disease issues and nutrient deficiencies. Vining plants grow well on obelisks and are fun to pick and eat while working in the garden. Alternatively, you can move the location of your vegetable garden.

Garden Tools

Do you have all the tools you need to have a successful season in the garden? Here’s our list of common tools you will need.

Gloves – A good pair of gardening gloves will keep your hands dry and comfortable while you spend time planting and amending the soil.

Pruners – Don’t let the number of options for pruners intimidate you; they are useful for small tasks such as cutting flowers to bring inside, and important jobs such as seasonal pruning.

Shovel – Those perennials and shrubs won’t plant themselves; come by and browse all of our options for you.

Hand Trowel: Necessary when planting smaller plants and working with planting in containers.

Cultivator: These tools are excellent for breaking soil and weeding between plantings in your garden.

Watering Can: Don’t forget about those containers and smaller spaces in the garden that need water! A hose doesn’t always reach parts of your garden.

Soil: Pick up an at-home soil testing kit to find out what your soil pH is. Healthy soil creates a healthy environment for plants.

Pruning & Transplanting

When it comes to plant maintenance for spring, once you have uncovered roses from winter protection, inspect for damage and winter die-back and prune if necessary. Prune summer-flowering trees and shrubs that bloom on new growth such as panicle hydrangeas and weigelas, non-blooming broadleaf evergreens, or deciduous hedges.

Cut back any perennial ornamental grasses you have been enjoying through the fall and winter to encourage new growth in the early spring.

Divide and transplant your summer-blooming perennials, such as Echinacea, Salvia, or Rudbeckia, and fertilize established as soon as new growth appears. Spring flowering plants such as Irises are best divided in the summer (June – August).

You can use a pitchfork or the handheld garden forks to split the plants crown gently, rather than using a shovel.

For fruit trees, it’s a good idea to prune in late winter just before they bloom. Typically, the branches that grow vertically never produce fruit so they would need to be pruned out. This is also an opportunity to correct any damage that occurred during the winter months.

It’s a good practice to wipe your pruners off with a bit of rubbing alcohol in-between cuts to avoid spreading any disease. Additionally, pruning sealer can be used if the branches are over 1″ in diameter.


Starting a compost pile is as simple as collecting plant debris and raked leaves. Once you have your pile, you then want to add brown (carbon-rich) materials such as dried leaves, and green (nitrogen-rich) materials such as grass clippings or weeds. Turn your pile regularly throughout the season for rich compost that will be ready to be added to your gardens next spring.

Avoid adding greasy or fatty foods to your compost such as cheese, meats, and fried foods. These materials don’t break down naturally so it can cause issues.

Your garden can benefit from compost because it is high in organic matter, which acts like a sponge that holds onto nutrients longer. Typically, mineral-based soils don’t retain very many nutrients, that’s why plants in clay soil usually have lime green or yellow striped leaves.

Micro-organisms, such as fungi or bacteria, live in compost. When you add compost to the soil, the beneficial organisms help plants reach more nutrients. It’s a symbiotic relationship; the plants offer protection in exchange for nutrients to grow stronger.

“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”
-William Shakespeare