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The Spring Cleanup

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

The best time to plan your garden has to be the Winter. It gives us the time to do our research and place orders early (and with the growing interest in gardening and food production, this point is key!), not to mention keep us entertained during the cooler months. Of course, before diving into making changes, a clean slate helps and will ensure your landscaping will be off to a good start. We’ve put together a list of our top tasks to get the growing season up and running smoothly.

Clean Tools and Pots

Before you start handling any vegetation, take the time to wipe and sanitize all tools as well as rinsing and cleaning out your pots. Throughout the year, if cutting back any diseased plants, it’s also important to wipe tools down in between uses so illnesses and pests aren’t spread amongst your plants.


While all shrubs and trees have different requirements when it comes to when and how to prune, Springtime is nonetheless a good catchup period to do this, before foliage sets it. In general, prune out diseased or crossing branches first. From there, you can thin if desired or if necessary. Any pruning of fruit shrubs or trees specifically should be researched in advance as some fruits can only be produced on old (hard) wood while others produce on new (green) wood.

Cutting Back

As new shoots begin to emerge on your herbaceous perennials and grasses, you can start to work your way through your yard and cut back any dead pieces to make way for the new. This is one area where we recommend procrastinating somewhat and only doing a little bit at a time, spreading the task over a few weeks if possible. It sounds strange, we know, but this is for good reason: the bees. Not just the bees, actually…. The dead materials provide safe harbour for insects of all varieties, which in turn feeds birds and other critters alike, strengthening biodiversity and giving the ecosystem a fighting chance before plantlife is in full swing for the season.

Make Soil Amendments

If you didn’t get the chance to spread leaf mulch in the fall, now is a good time to work some organic material into the soil ahead of planting. Whether it’s leaf mulch, compost from your kitchen scraps or rotted manure, your plantings will thank you. Be sure to top the soil with traditional natural mulches or living mulch (read: ground cover plants) to seal it all in and promote the further decomposition, soil erosion, and water loss moving forward in the season.


Once the ground has thawed is just the right time to start transplanting. Start with shrubs or trees that are easily spotted, ideally while they’re still dormant to reduce shock and stress on the plants. Next, move on the herbaceous plants as they begin to emerge from the ground when you can more easily identify the entire mass of the planting. For tough root masses, such as those of ornamental grasses, don’t be afraid to take a hand saw or pruning saw to them, dividing the clump as necessary.

Spread out the tasks above over many weeks and enjoy the time spent slowly watching your yard come back to life. Like most things, gardening is a marathon, not a sprint.

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