Late March / Early April (Zone 5 – 6)

  • Start cleaning perennial beds.
  • If the weather cooperates and the soil isn’t too wet or frozen, start cleaning up the perennial beds.
  • It’s important not to step on the soil in these beds. Place a few granite blocks, stepping stones or flagstones throughout the garden to step on. This will help limit soil compaction. Constant stepping in a perennial bed compresses and compacts the soil depleting essential air space throughout  the soil and especially around the roots.
  • Cut down any remaining dead stalks and remove any dead old foliage on the ground. Do not cut Tree Peonies!
  • Rake out the area carefully, trying not to snap off any new growth emerging through the soil.
  • Replant or firm in any plants that have lifted up from frost heaving.
  • Dig and divide any perennials that are too big, overgrown or no longer performing for you. See our division information at
  • Transplant roses optimally before their leaves emerge.
  • Divide early spring blooming bulbs just after they finish blooming. Pot them up for sale or donation
  • Move or transplant trees and shrubs optimally before their leaves emerge.
  • Transplant perennials or pot them up for sale or donation on
  • Place grid stakes over plants you know tend to flop later in the season.
  • Spread 2” – 3” of compost over the area avoiding any new growth.
  • Fertilize with an organic slow release fertilizer without it touching any foliage. Lightly rake or scratch it in. If there isn’t any rain in the immediate forecast, gently water the fertilizer in.
  • Edge garden bed.
  • It isn’t necessary but you may apply an optional cover of mulch at this time to help reduce weeds.
  • Plant cool season annuals such as pansies, violas, snapdragons and callibracoa.
  • Sow Sweet Peas outside (traditionally on St. Patrick’s Day).

Other Gardening Tasks:

  • Indoors: Clean and disinfect any pots, trays or containers for spring seed sowing.
  • Indoors: Start seeds indoors. See our seed starting info at
  • Indoors: Pot up your dahlias now for early summer bloom and keep indoors in a warm frost free area.
  • Do any hardscaping jobs now while it is easy to see where you are working. You won’t have to deal with out-of-control foliage in your way as you work.
  • Remove the top 4”-5” of old potting soil in permanent outdoor containers and window boxes. Loosen remaining soil underneath and refresh with a mix of light compost and potting soil.  If you are using water polymers for moisture retention, apply the correct amount listed on package instructions. Make sure they are mixed in at the root zone and not the top 2” or you can end up with a clear gelatin mess.
  • Have lawnmower tuned up and blade sharpened. Send out now before the season rush.
  • Start turning compost pile.

Mid – Late April (Zone 5 – 6)

  • Prune roses around April 15 (Tax Day).
  • Cut down Buddleas as new growth emerges.
  • Prune Hydrangea paniculata and Hydrangea arborescens. (These are the Hydrangeas that bloom on new wood.)
  • Do not prune Hydrangeas that bloom on old wood in the spring or you will cut off this years flowers.
  • Indoors: Last chance to pot up summer tubers and bulbs for early summer blooms and keep them in a frost free area. (begonia, caladiums, gloxinia, canna, dahlia)
  • Indoors: Sow tender annuals indoors. See our seed starting info at

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