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April 2015
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Early Spring Garden Tips
Prepare your garden for spring

The worst of winter is finally behind us, and gardening is the perfect activity to give you an excuse to spend time outside, which is good for your health and mood. These tips for early spring gardening will set you up for success all season long.
 
Remove winter mulch
 
It is important to remove the mulch that you used to protect your garden during the winter before the weather gets too warm. Many gardeners make the mistake of waiting until they are ready to tackle all of their garden chores and leave the mulch on too long. Even if you aren’t ready to plant anything just yet, leaving the mulch over your garden has the potential to damage your existing plants if temperatures rise too much. One time-saving tip is to simply put your mulch aside and not throw it away until all chance of frost or cold nights has passed, in case you need to quickly recover your garden.
 
Prune roses and fruit trees
 
One of the first tasks of spring gardening is to prune roses. You don’t have to wait until your plants are already growing again. Pruning roses before any new growth helps them grow strong and can even encourage them to produce the most blossoms.
 
“A trim also gives the plants a more open habit, which helps them resist diseases such as black spot,” according to the Better Homes and Gardens website (http://www.bhg.com).
 
Early spring is also a great time to prune fruit trees. Most fruit trees can safely be pruned every year, which can help them stay healthy. Making more room among the branches can even make it easier to harvest the mature fruits.
 
“The buds and flowers of peaches, nectarines, and cherries open early and are prone to frost damage. Protect wall-trained and free-standing trees with fabric,” recommends HGTVgardens.com.
 
Plant trees and shrubs
 
If you don’t have any fruit trees, consider planting some now because spring is a great time to plant most trees and shrubs due to the cool temperatures and moist soil. A common mistake when planting trees and shrubs is to plant them too deep. The point at which the root meets the trunk is known as the root flare, and that should not be buried in soil. The root flare should either be just at the soil level or even slightly above.
 
Plant cool tolerant annuals
 
Bulbs like tulips, daffodils and crocuses are usually the first blossoms that signify spring, but if you don’t have bulbs planted from last year, you can still get early flowers by planting cool tolerant annuals, which grow quickly. Many of these annuals can even tolerate a slight frost, making them perfect for early planting. Varieties to try include snapdragon, violas, poppy and pansies.
 
When the weather warms up in the swing of summer, replace your annuals with heat loving varieties so your garden will never lack for color. Petunias and nasturtium are very popular varieties of annuals that work well in heat.
 
So don’t wait, celebrate the upcoming spring weather by heading outside to prep your garden for its best year yet using these tips.
 
This article is presented by Kundert Volvo in Hasbrouck Heights and Englewood, NJ.

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