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Prepare for progress: 6 suggestions for planning your spring backyard

Keep up the dynamic of the growing season all year round with these gardening tips.

Does spring dream of lush gardens and sunshine? Despite what you might see on TV, beautiful landscapes don't happen overnight. Weeds penetrate your beds and have to be pulled. The mulch breaks down and needs to be replaced. And your attention span will undoubtedly go on to shiny things long enough for your garden to decay.

Knowing the unique conditions of your garden and choosing the right plants will ensure that both the garden and your enthusiasm for it last a lifetime.

Invest in your soil

Do a soil test with your local agricultural advisory office to get the dirt on your dirt. Here you will find everything you need to know, what will grow there and how you can improve it.

In the meantime, change your soil with as much organic matter as possible – either by building a compost heap or by adding sacks of composted manure. This gives it better texture, a diverse population of useful organisms and more fertility.

If your soil is poorly drained, either grow plants that tolerate wet feet, or install a dry creek bed or French drain to avoid standing water.

Throw away the garbage trees

With any luck, the trees you plant today will be there for a long time. Remember, don't grow things you'll regret someday – like a messy silver maple that drops seeds on the lawn, or a cypress that will eventually outshine your house.

When choosing a tree or shrub for your garden, consider the size, shape, and habit. Avoid planting plants that have weak limbs or are prone to pests and epidemics, as removing trees is an expensive and unnecessary expense.

Understand the sunlight in your garden

These little symbols for "full sun" and "penumbra" are on the plant label for a reason – too much sunlight burns the foliage and affects the health of the plant, while too little makes it lanky and weak.

Choose plants that thrive under your conditions. A place that is exposed to direct sunlight for eight or more hours is the perfect place to grow vegetables, fruit trees, and most flowers. Part of the full shade is ideal for growing plants such as shrubs, ferns and small trees that occur naturally in the undergrowth of the forest.

If you have a shady garden but can't live without roses and tomatoes, you should hire a professional arborist to remove trees or large branches to get more sunlight.

Buy plants with confidence

If it looks like everything you grow will die sooner or later, stop buying unhealthy plants. Examine the foliage and push the plant out of the pot to see if it has firm, white, and healthy roots. The best place to buy healthy plants is at a local garden center. Otherwise, buy them shortly after a shipment arrives.

If you cannot find the plant you are looking for, order seeds, bulbs and plants online from reputable sellers such as Burpee Seeds and Plants, Brent and Becky & # 39; s Bulbs and Plant Delights Nursery.

Plant for all four seasons

It's tempting to shop for all the plants in spring, but these pretty flowers will fade soon. To avoid boredom for 11 months, choose a variety of plants that are interesting in different seasons.

Grow summer flowering plants like canna, coneflower and guara to keep the show going until autumn when colorful foliage and autumn bloomers like mothers and goldenrods take control.

If you're interested in winter, check out trees with interesting branch patterns and bark, as well as unusual evergreen varieties – like Heuchera and Abelia – or even architectural, sturdy palm trees and succulents.

Share and conquer

Here's a big trick you can use to save money: Choose a perennial, an onion, or an ornamental grass that can be propagated by division – one that you'd like to see growing in your garden in a few years.

Plant several specimens of this plant in your garden. After a few years, divide the plants by digging them out and cutting them through the middle with a sharp spade. You get the best results in spring when the weather is cool and the plant is actively growing.

Plant the dividers back in the ground, cover the space between the plants with mulch, and water them thoroughly to help them set up. Repeat these steps every two years, and you not only have a lot of free plants, but also a garden that looks coherent and established.

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Originally published in February 2017

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