5 Essential Spring Gardening Tips

04/09/2015 11:07 am ET | Updated Jun 09, 2015

The sun is shining, birds are singing and it's time for your garden to come back from the winter weather. Your garden needs some help getting back in shape, though, so it's time to get the supplies from the home improvement store, pull out the tools from the shed and get to work.

Here are some tips for your getting your spring garden green and beautiful by the time the season reaches its peak:

1. Clean out the garden.

It's time to clean your garden and remove all the debris (leaves, leftover snow, etc.) Get rid of weeds, making sure that you get the roots so they won't grow back. This is also a good time to sharpen your garden tools, if needed, because you're going to require them for plant maintenance and soil care.

Photo courtesy of Penny Construction and Development, Inc. in Bellevue, WA

2. Revitalize the soil.

Because your soil is likely dried out and packed after winter, it's time to add moisture. Add organic material like compost or manure. You might need to test the soil to see what nutrients it needs, so you give it the right mixture. You might also need to add more fertilizer to increase the health of the soil and increase the life of your plants.

3. Trim old plants.

Plants that survived the winter will need to be pruned so they'll grow anew in the spring. Make sure to wait until mid-April or May in case there's an unexpected freeze. Blooming plants should be pruned right after they bloom to avoid cutting off future flowers. Summer plants should be pruned in early spring.

Photo courtesy ofSenn Lawn Care, LLC in Chalfont, PA

4. Add mulch.

In addition to fertilizers and organic materials, you should think about adding mulch to your flower beds and garden. One to three inches of mulch helps to prevent weeds and diseases. It also keeps the moisture in the garden and maintains the temperature. The rule of thumb is to keep the mulch a few inches from the plant stems to prevent roots from rotting.

Photo courtesy of JPS Curb Appeal, LLC in Fort Wayne, IN

5. Plant new flowers and shrubs.

Once you've gotten the garden in shape and handled all of the old plants, it's time to turn your attention to new plants. Some recommendations for good spring plants include:

  • Pansies
  • Snapdragons
  • Vegetables like lettuce, peas and arugula
  • Redbuds
  • Transplanting tomato plants from indoor pots to outside
  • Lilacs
  • Tulips

You should lean towards planting more perennials rather than annuals, because annuals have to be replaced every year. This means you're making an investment in plants that will die every year and require replacement. Perennials, on the other hand, last for two to three years and usually survive winter frosts.

What to Do for the Rest of Spring?

Once your spring garden is up and running again, it's time to look to the future and decide what to do with your garden next. It will need some care so it stays colorful and beautiful throughout the season. Here are some quick tips for garden maintenance throughout the rest of the season:

Mid-Spring:

  • Consider new flower beds.
  • Plant some hardy annuals.
  • Transplant seeds.
  • Mulch.

Late Spring:

  • Deadhead and remove bulbs.
  • Prune flowering shrubs.

Photos courtesy of DesignMine