Garden Tips: Top 5 Spring Garden Prep Tips

Posted on: February 20, 2012
Evergreen Orange Sedge with path light in Portland Oregon Landscape Design

Groom Evergreen Orange Sedge grass but DON’T cut them back

Garden Tips: Top 5 Early Spring Garden Prep Tips

Here are my Top 5  garden tips for things to do January to early March:

Cut back deciduous (gets dead looking in winter) grasses to 2″ tall stubble. Fountain grass, switch grass and japanese silver grass are just 3 that should be cut back this drastically.  Don’t cut back evergreen grasses-they grow  too  slowly  and  will  leave  a hole  in  your  plantings  for  a year.

American Switch Grass -Panicum Virgatum in a low water garden Raleigh Hills Portland Oregon

Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’-American Switch Grass gets cut back in late winter.


Modern concrete paver patio design Sellwood Moreland Garden Design in Portland

Freshly installed hydropressed concrete pavers creates patio in shady back yard.

Scrub your flagstone

Scrub your flagstones, especially in the odd corners where they have become very slick. Same for concrete, where you don’t typically walk, it can be very slippery. Bleach will harm your stepables and if you track bleach in on your carpet, it will be a sad thing.  Some do use a 1 to 10 water and ammonia on their flagstone with stepables.  (10 is the water, 1 is the ammonia okay?) Chemicals to remove moss are harmful to your plants.

Cut back Lavender

Cut back Lavender to just above the lowest bits of new growth. Do this before mid March. February is best and as I like to say, January isn’t wrong.

Don’t prune your Rosemary now

Trim a bit of rosemary and make some good chicken soup but don’t prune your rosemary yet because it’s going to flower and our bees need all the help they can get. Prune it after it flowers.  Prune thyme, oregano, sage in February or early March.  Speaking of rosemary, the flu season has me making a lot of soup with rosemary. We have had our patience sorely tested waiting to get over this years flu (2011). Rosemary is both fragrant and flavorful. It lifts my spirits just picking it, I also like it with eggs and potatoes for breakfast, so simple, so good and so easy to step outside my door and snip.

Time to mulch?  Don’t bury your plants.

Time to start thinking about adding an inch or two of compost to place on your planting beds for as soon as you finish spring clean up or April 15 which ever arrives first. Do not bury the crowns of the perennials or other plants.  It can contribute or cause rotting.  Don’t fertilize unless you know what you are doing.  So many new plants and especially trees should not be fertilized their first year and many don’t need anything but good quality compost or mulch applied twice a year.

I hope these tips were helpful.  Please contact me for garden coaching if you are an existing or previous client.  Alana (associate designer and garden coach) and I want to help you have confidence in caring for your landscape.

Carol Lindsay