As summer approaches, it’s in your best interest to start cleaning out your plant beds in early spring before everything begins growing back. Here are our quick tips on how to prep your beds for the coming year.
The Bed Itself
Clean up plant debris around plants: This is the time to remove dead leaves, weeds, and other items that have accumulated on the ground between your plants. This will not only tidy up and improve how your beds look, but it will also help the growth of your plants.
Plan out your bed: Do you have plants that didn’t survive and/or do you have room for new plants? Spring is the best time to remove any dead plants from your landscape and start thinking about new plants to add. Save the planting for later in the spring when there is no more chance of frost, but go ahead and start prepping the area.
above: One of our employee’s plant beds in summer after cleaning it up in the spring.
Have the proper equipment: Wear gloves to protect your hands and to also protect the plants from disease. Make sure to have proper trimming, digging, and cutting tools, and clean them with a bleach solution before using them. We also recommend cleaning tools between each plant as to not spread disease from one plant to another.
Tidy up plants: Spring is the best time to groom your plants and get them ready for the year to come. Below we’ve outlined our recommended tips plants.
Cut dead branches: Remove all dead branching and dead leaves in order to encourage new growth.
Properly thin plants: Cut the thicker branches of the shrubs by cutting them at the base. This will allow light into the core of the plant which prevents die back at the base. Cutting the thicker branches also rejuvenates the plants by encouraging the smaller branches to grow and have young growth. Feel free to cut away up to half of the branching.
above: One of our employee’s cleaned up beds with Juddi Viburnums and Daylilies. (Viburnums thrive if they get thinned and pruned in the spring)
Prune:* We recommend cutting back a third of the plant and leaving two thirds. This will improve the plant’s shape, foster new blooms, and tidy up your bed. However, not all plants need pruning, and you need to make sure you don’t cut back plants who bloom on old wood (shrubs that begin creating their buds for the next year after they finish blooming in the current year) like some hydrangea varieties. *Here is a guide on how to avoid pruning the wrong shrubs.
Remove dead leaves: Take off any dead leaves to encourage new growth on your perennials.
above: Removal of dead hosta leaves in the spring.
Don’t cut crown: The crown is where perennials store their energy for new buds. If you cut off the crown, you’ll remove a large deal of the plant’s energy source and prevent it from blooming.
Cut down: Grasses can be cut in late fall; however, most people leave them up for winter interest. Once winter is done, you need to cut them down to 6-8 inches to get ready for the new shoots in the spring.
above: An example of how we trim our grasses at our nursery. (Calamagrostis brachytricha Feather Reed)
Have Questions About Plants?
We may be a wholesale grower, but our staff are experts in the field. What’s more, is we love helping people learn more and understand more about plants. We grow healthy plants, and we want our plants (and any plants really) to be successful in the landscapes they are planted in. Feel free to email us at email@example.com or call us at (785) 229-7200 if you ever have plant-related questions.