This article is contributed by Angela H. of Earls court Cleaning
As soon as the first of the spring flowers show up or the snow is almost melted away you will most likely feel the urge to clean up the leaves that were accumulated before the snowfall. One thing you should do before that however is to wait until the soil is dry enough to crumble in your hands instead of clumping together as this will allow you to work easier. Be ready to cut down some of the old growth before the new one begins its growth however since they can tangle up together making it much worse. Here are some tips on what you can do to get started:
This is one of the first actions that have to be undertaken once the snow melts as any annual plants that remained from last year will have to be cleaned before they have a chance to decompose. None of these plants will regrow as they were made to be that way. Your perennial flowers however will need some special attention as they need to be pruned every fall before the snow falls. If you haven’t done so by removing the old growth before now you’ll have a chance to do so once they start growing anew. This is a good time to begin the removal of the winter mulch as well. Some woody perennials won’t grow unless they are pruned such as lavender so remember that and give each plant its according treatment.
Although these will make it through the winter safely sometimes they may still need to be trimmed in order to stimulate their growth. Bearded iris, hellebores and the like are capable of retaining their leaves all the way all the way into spring time and safely throughout the entirety of winter.
This is something amateur gardeners need to remember before they set off pruning – many of the trees that bloom in spring have their flower buds set the year before. Pruning them would mean killing off the flower buds this year which in term would cause damage to the plant. These will need to be pruned in late spring or even the beginning of summer after they have bloomed.
Now is the time to act against the weeds by preventing their infestation ahead of time. As the soil is damn this will give you a chance to pull out young weeds while they are still weak. Never try to use weeds as compost as they will gladly seed themselves back in because of their resilience. Everything else you clean up can go into the compost pile as usual but do your best to weed out any plants that show signs of disease. Make sure there are no seeds present among the plants in the pile as they may grow from it given the opportunity.
The benefits of using mulch are well-known as it can cool the roots, conserve water as it prevents evaporation of liquids from the top layer and it also feeds the soil as it decomposes as well. One thing you have to keep in mind before applying it however is the fact that self-seeding plants won’t have a chance to release their seeds into the soil if you mulch it. When you mulch everything remember to keep the mulch away from the crowns and stems of the garden plants.
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