The beginning of April means you can no longer put off those early spring gardening chores you were procrastinating about.
Here are the top three things you need to check off your to-do list now.
1. Mow then feed the lawn.
Make your lawn look real sharp by edging in the spring to provide a tidy framework.
Q: Most asked question on lawn mowing, is, “How short should I mow the lawn in our climate?”
A: The cool-season grasses that thrive in Western Washington do best when allowed to grow to 3 inches. When you mow remove one third of the blade so the grass is at 2 inches. Raise the height of your mower and just say no to the low mow. You’ll enjoy a healthier lawn that requires less water. Taller grass blades shade out weeds.
2. Prune back the roses by at least one third. Then fertilize.
Q: Most asked question about rose pruning, “My roses have lots of new growth. Is it too late to prune them back a bit?”
A. Better late than never when it comes to hybrid tea roses or cleaning out the dead wood from shrub roses. Aim to cut just above a sprouting bud and try to thin out small, inward-facing rose canes to create an open, vase-shaped plant for better air circulation. Be sure to fertilize rose plants every spring and throughout the summer. Roses are gluttons.
3. Divide those overgrown summer-blooming perennials such as daylilies, hosta and Shasta daisies.
Q: Most asked question about dividing perennials, “How many new plants should one expect when dividing an old hosta or daylily?”
A. The number of new plants depends on the size of the mother plant. A perennial plant that is as big around as a large dinner plate can be divided into four sections. The outer part of the clump will be the most vigorous, so think of cutting the clump into pie-shaped wedges. Loosen up and improve the planting hole with compost before returning the divided section back into the soil. If you don’t have room for the new divisions, pot them up and donate to a plant sale or new gardener.
Marianne Binetti has a degree in horticulture from Washington State University and is the author of several books. Reach her at binettigarden.com.