5 ways to satisfy Gardener's Itch as spring arrives

It may still be cold, but expert Perry Grobe says there's a lot that can be done in the garden as spring arrives.

Plan, protect, prune, prepare, plant: all things you can do right now in Waterloo Region

With daytime temperatures in the single digits, it may not feel like spring; but according to the calendar, Waterloo Region is on the cusp of another growing season. 

If your bare lawn and empty flower beds are giving you a Gardener's Itch, Perry Grobe of Grobe Nursery in Breslau has these "5-P" suggestions: 

1. Plan

It may be too early to put your thoughts into action, but now is the time to map out what you're going to plant and where you're going to plant it. For example, do you want to put a new tree in your yard? Take the time to research the types of trees that will do well in that location.
Early shoots should be protected from cold nights with a frost blanket. (Geoff Smith)

2. Protect

Thanks to February's thaw, crocus and daffodil shoots are already poking out of the ground, but freezing temperatures at night could kill those early starters. To protect them from the cold, spread a frost blanket over them; and if it snows, leave the shoots alone–the snow will actually insulate them from the cold.

3. Prune

Early spring is the best time to prune shrubs and garden plants. So if you didn't cut back your hydrangeas in the fall, do it now. But don't touch any trees that tend to bleed sap–doing so could cause unnecessary stress and end up doing more harm than good. Of course, if you're harvesting it for syrup-making, that's a different story.
Shrubs can be pruned, but stay away from any tree that tends to bleed sap in the spring. (Yvon Theriault)

4. Prepare

Your lawn needs just as much TLC as your garden plants, so take some time to prepare it for summer. When the ground is dry, give it a good, vigorous rake to remove any old grass clippings; then, apply a general lawn fertilizer to add nutrients to the soil.

5. Plant

As long as there's no frost in the ground, you can plant any nursery plant. However, you may have a hard time finding anything at your local garden centre: Most nurseries don't stock spring plants until mid-April.

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