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How to Clean Up Garden Plots and Flowerbeds
Clearing out your garden plots and flowerbeds prior to spring planting helps ensure prolific blooms and tasty produce through late fall. Follow this checklist for the best results throughout the growing season.
Pull and compost dead annuals
Remove all the annuals you left in your garden over the winter. If those plants remain in the soil when the land starts to awaken, they may spread pests and diseases like fungal spores they sheltered from the cold. If the annuals are reseeders, they will have dropped their seed in the fall.
If you didn’t do it last fall, prune your perennials before they put out new growth. On woody shrubs, cut out crossing or dead branches.
Take a close look at permanent plants, including shrubs and vines. Look for rot or decay in trunks, and check for dead or dying branches that need to be removed. Cut back dead limbs all the way to the base. Also check to see that your foundation plants are firmly rooted in the soil and aren’t wobbly. If a shrub has become loose, stake it to encourage new root development.
Pull any weeds. When left to grow unchecked, weeds can overtake your landscape by choking out desirable plants. If the weeds are especially out of control, consider applying a weed killer. Only apply weed killers during calm weather and well away from desirable vegetation, though.
Rake all the debris out of your garden plots and flowerbeds. Leaves and other plant parts can harbor diseases and pests. Baring the soil between plants also improves the appearance of your yard.
Remove winter mulch from the base of foundation plants so they can grow easily as the weather warms. When remulching, put down a 2- to 3-inch layer of shredded bark or other organic material to inhibit weed growth and keep the soil moist and warm.