Garden Maintenance


  •  Late March/early April cut back dead plants and apply a general purpose fertilizer.
  • Every 3-5 years divide and transplant your perennials. Dig entire plant and cut into sections (2-3 growth buds each).  Tangled growth, holes in center of plant (middle is dead) or reduced flowering indicates it is time to divide.  Keep transplanted divisions moist until established.
  • Remove spent flowers throughout the season. Prune stems back to crown of plant.  Some perennials will bloom again in fall if this is done.
  • Water during dry spells.  Most perennials require 1 inch of water per week. Native plants generally are drought tolerant once established.
  • In the fall, after a killing frost prune to ground level or 2-3” above the crown. The crown is where new growth will sprout in spring.  Foliage left for winter interest or feeding the birds can be cleaned up in spring.  Cover garden beds with a 2” layer of mulch after the ground has frozen solid; this reduces heaving.

Ornamental Grasses

  • Keep new plantings moist.  Divide when necessary, every 3-5 years. Cut back to 3-4 inches above ground in spring when new growth begins.
  • New plantings should be fertilized twice in spring (May & June) and twice in fall (Aug. & Sept.) about a month apart with plant starter fertilizer for the first two years.  After that, spring and fall applications of general all-purpose (10-10-10) fertilizer will do.

Deciduous Trees & Shrubs

  • Pruning should be done to maintain a reasonable shape and size, as well as to remove old or damaged wood and crossing branches.  This enhances air circulation and sun penetration which allows the plants to be fuller and less susceptible to disease. Broken or damaged branches should be trimmed as soon as noticed.
  • Fertilize new trees and shrubs twice in spring and twice in fall with plant starter fertilizer for the first two years.  After that, fertilize in spring and fall with all-purpose fertilizer (10-10-10).
  • Spirea may be cut back 2-3” above ground in the spring or fall of each year.  This will maintain their size, shape and flowering.


  • You may prune any time but spring and late fall are best.  Summer and winter pruning may cause foliage tips to burn (turn brown) due to excessive heat or freezing. Pruning should not be done to the woody portion of stems. Pruning by hand and at varying lengths will give a more natural appearance.  Shearing creates a more formal look.
  • Fertilize new plantings twice in spring and twice in fall with plant starter fertilizer the first season. Evergreens as well as ferns, rhododendrons, hydrangeas and hollies benefit greatly from applications of acidic fertilizer such as Miracle Gro “Miracid”.
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