Soak store-bought and mail-order bare-root plants in tepid water for several hours before planting.

Plant and transplant deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs while dormant if ground is friable (frost-free and not soggy).

Scatter plant cool-season annuals (calendula, larkspur, poppy, snapdragon, sunflower, sweet peas).

Set out pansies and English daisies if ground is friable.



Winter damaged hedges. Trim narrower on top than bottom to allow more light to reach lower branches.

Finish dormant pruning.

Begin heavy annual pruning of shrub roses as new leaves appear.



Deciduous and needle evergreen trees with high nitrogen 12-6-6 (if not fed in late fall or early winter).

Shrubs and ground covers with 5-10-5 or dehydrated manure.

Acid-loving broadleaf evergreens with acid based 5-10-5 (if not fed in late fall or early winter.)

Emerging bulbs with balanced fertilizer 10-10-10.

Clematis, iris, peonies with bone meal or 5-10-5.

Roses with 5-10-5 or dehydrated manure (as new growth begins).

Wisteria with 5-10-5.

Established lawns with high nitrogen (24-6-6) fertilizer.

Apply pre-emergent herbicide 3 weeks before seeding.


Watch for

Overwintering insects and disease.

Apply dormant oil spray against scale, insect egg nests, fungus when temperature remains above 40 degrees for several hours.


Garden Maintenance

Begin major lawn work: remove winter debris, dethatch existing lawn, aerate compacted areas to improve water penetration, fill in low spots with sharp sand and topsoil.

Start removing winter mulch from shrubs, perennials, bulb beds and add to compost pile, remove protective screening from evergreens.


In the vegetable garden

Do not walk on soft soil to avoid compacting.

Prepare for spring planting as soon as ground is friable: rototill 7” to 8”deep, test soil pH and adjust to between 6 and 7, add liberal amounts of compost and manure, fertilize with 5-10-5 those areas to be planted immediately.

Sow cool-season vegetables and herbs.

Dig and divide rhubarb if necessary.

Plant bare-root berry bushes and grapevines, fruit trees, strawberry plants, asparagus with 2 and 3 year old roots.

Fertilize rhubarb and asparagus beds, berry bushes, grapevines with 10-10-10 (before new growth begins), Blueberries with 5-10-5 for acid-loving plants.