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What To Do This Month in the Garden

  1. Clean and sharpen garden tools and lawn mower blades to prepare for spring.
  2. Check perennials for frost heave; tamp and mulch if needed.
  3. Remove snow from branches of shrubs and trees before freezing, to prevent breakage. Click here for more info.
  4. Clean bird houses if not occupied.
  5. Take a soil sample from growing area in your yard. Follow recommendations when applying amendments.
  6. Water stressed foundation shrubs and plants if little rain.
  1. Remove leaves and debris from perennial beds and shrub borders.
  2. Apply thin layer of compost to shrubs after slow-release fertilizer.
  3. Cut back ornamental grasses and liriope.
  4. Remove suckers, crossing branches and dead branches from crepe myrtles. Resist the temptation to commit “crepe murder” by topping the tree.
  5. Prune Abelia, Alder, Arborvitae, Beautyberry, Boxwood, Butterfly bush, Chastetree (Vitex), Cherrylaurel (Prunus), Summersweet (Clethra), deciduous and evergreen Cotoneaster, Crepe Myrtle, Redtwig Dogwood, Thorny Eleagnus, deciduous and evergreen Euonymus, Gardenia, Rose-of-Sharon (Hibiscus), deciduous and evergreen Holly, summer-blooming Hydrangea, St. Johnswort (Hypericum), Juniper, Nandina, Osmanthus, Photinia, Pittosporum, deciduous and evergreen Privet, Potentilla, Rose, Smoke Tree, summer-blooming Spirea, Sumac, Yew, Atlas Cedar, Deodar Cedar, Chamaecyparis, Fir, Leyland Cyprus, Southern Magnolia and Live Oak. (Note that many evergreens seldom need pruning except to remove multiple leaders & dead and broken branches.) For a guide to pruning deciduous trees, go to For a guide to pruning evergreens, go to
  1. Divide and transplant perennials.
  2. Plant strawberries, roses, vines and ground covers.
  3. Buy seeds for your summer garden. Click here for more information.
  4. Prune vines and shrubs that bloom on new growth (clematis, hydrangeas) to increase flowering.
  5. Prune summer-blooming shrubs.
  • Look for brown patch in lawn and treat.
  • Fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after blooming, if needed.
  • Manage pests like lace bugs on azaleas, black spot on roses and bag worms on evergreens. Always follow expert recommendations and hand pick pests when possible.
  • Watch out for squash vine borer.
  1. Deadhead summer-blooming plants.
  2. Remove water sprouts and suckers from the base of crape myrtles and fruit trees.
  3. Water plants and lawns deeply if less than 1″ rain per week.
  4. Inspect plants for pests and disease; treat as needed.
  1. Mow lawn at 3″ height and leave grass clippings on lawn as a fertilizer.
  2. Monitor your yard for invasive vines like ivy, wisteria and periwinkle. Prevent spread into neighboring woodlands or fields
  3. Empty standing water sources in gutters, bird baths and pots to reduce mosquito breeding.
  4. Inspect plants for fungal problems, pests and other disease; treat as needed.
  5. Plant vegetables for fall harvest. Click here for more info.
  1. Add compost to gardens before fall planting.
  2. Plant cool-season vegetables (broccoli, kale, cabbage, lettuce, arugula, spinach, cauliflower). Click here for more info on what to plant.
  3. Aerate, fertilize and over-seed cool-season lawns, or start new cool-season lawn from seed. Click here for more info on lawn aeration.
  4. Divide perennials like hostas, liriope and daylilies, if desired.
  5. Fall is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs! 
  1. Plant spring-blooming bulbs at the end of the month.
  2. Save seeds of heirloom or non-hybridized vegetables or flowers. Label them and store in cool, dry place.
  3. Cut peonies, phlox and other herbaceous perennials to the ground at first frost.
  4. Apply fertilizer to cool-season grasses like fescue. Click here for more info.
  1. Replenish mulch (2″-3″ deep) around tender plants.
  2. Keep leaves off the lawn to prevent smothering the grass. Mulch leaves and use around trees and shrubs. Click here for more info.
  3. Start winter feeding of birds and put a specialized heater into your bird bath.
  4. Store pesticides and herbicides safely.
  5. Plant garlic. Click here for more info.
  1. Leave live Christmas trees in container for display up to two weeks. Water only when dry and plant outside after the holidays
  2. Cut fresh greenery and berries for indoor use in decorations during the holidays. Click here for more info.
  3. Decorate with festive holiday plants. Click here for a horticulture expert’s tips on caring for holiday plants.
  4. Take care to avoid spreading devastating boxwood blight during holiday season. Click here for more info.
  5. Drain and store hoses at the end of the month.
  6. Remove snow from branches before freezing, to prevent breakage. Click here for more info.