Top 5 Rules for Spring Gardening

Top 5 Rules for Spring Gardening

Feb 15th 2024

With the arrival of spring comes all the exciting spring gardening work. Spring is the ideal season for your plants. In spring, the weather conditions are best for promoting healthy new growth, and the pollination cycle is in full swing. Whether you plant a bare root tree, sow new seeds, or enjoy spring-blooming flowers, now is the time to get your outdoor space in order and get ready for the spring season successfully.

Want to make your garden healthy and eye-catching this spring? Let's head outside to clean the garden, pruning, repair hardscaping, and sharpen tools, to kick off the growing season smoothly. Here are the top 5 spring gardening rules to prepare your garden for spring before the weather warms up!

1. Clean and Sharpen Your Gardening Tools

One of the top 5 rules for spring gardening is to clean and sharpen gardening tools and prepare them for spring planting and pruning. Inspect your tools to see if you need to upgrade any tools. Digging, pruning, or cutting with a sharp tool will make planting season easier. Maintaining the garden tools will help them last longer, save you money over time, and help prevent the spread of disease. Dirty scissors and pruners are known for introducing bacteria to fresh pruning wounds.

Use hot water and strong detergent to clean tool blades. After cleaning and sharpening, apply oil to the hinges and blades. Hand tools will also benefit greatly from cleaning and oiling.

Want to buy the best quality gardening tools and accessories? DripWorks carries a premium collection of gardening tools to make your gardening experience easier, enjoyable, and rewarding!

2. Do a Complete Spring Cleanup

The first and foremost thing to do is clean the debris from your garden beds and borders before spring bulbs emerge. This includes fallen leaves, branches, ornamental grasses, perennial foliage from last year, and annuals. Cleaning your garden beds will help you ward off pests and diseases. Moreover, now is an excellent time to clear debris from your pond or any other water feature. Clean and sterilize your bird bath before placing them back in the garden.

Pull the Weeds

Weeds can take over your garden beds during winter. So, it is essential to help revive your plants by pulling out pesky weeds, as they can harm plants' health. Remove weeds from your soil, burn them, or place them in a brown bin. Living weeds are a primary concern as they can come back and compete with your plants. So, go ahead and remove any weed you see. The soil is now soft in the spring due to moisture from rain, so pulling out all the weeds is easier.

3. Prune Shrubs and Trees

Late winter or early spring is the best time to prune shrubs and trees. After a cold winter passes, you can see the branch structure and can shape the overall plant before spring growth starts. Start by pruning anything broken or damaged over the winter months. Cut the dead growth of plants from last season. Pruning at this time of the year will encourage your shrubs to produce many new stems when they regrow in spring.

Cut the Dead Growth

Pruning and cutting the dead growth helps your plants grow healthy. Branches with browning leaves can also benefit from pruning. If you feel anxious about pruning, remember that one wrong cut will not kill your plant. However, over-pruning or pruning the wrong way will damage the plants over time.

Before spring, you should prune roses, flowering dogwoodcrepe myrtle, butterfly bush, hydrangea, honeysuckle, wisteria, viburnum, and woody ornamentals. Avoid pruning spring-blooming shrubs, or you will not get any blooms this season. 

4. Test Your Garden Soil and Prepare it for Planting

Once the frost has passed, you should test your soil and replenish it before planting. Experts advise testing your garden soil to determine what nutrients it lacks and to test for excess content. For example, you might discover through testing that your soil has a high phosphorus content, so you will avoid adding phosphorus-rich fertilizers. A soil test can determine fertility, nutrient levels, chemical makeup, and more. You can get pH or comprehensive soil testing kits for this purpose.

Read this helpful guide to test your soil: Gardening: Know Your Soil Type!

Prepare the Soil and Replenish it

Once you have tested your soil, a little TLC may be needed based on test results, but there's no need to panic. A slight depletion of soil is normal after a hard winter. Persistent rain can flood out nutrients, and regular drainage paths may be clogged, leaving the soil soggy and damp. However, it can be easily fixed.

Loosen the soil by working it down to a depth of 12-14 inches using a sharp spade. Add a healthy layer of compost and amendments to the soil before spring bulbs pop up. This will improve the nutrient content, soil texture, and moisture retention. Afterward, rake the soil and water it gently to help it settle. Moreover, laying mulch at the base of plants, open areas, and beds will slow evaporation and help plants hold onto moisture longer.

5. Set up New Garden Beds and Get Your Containers Ready

In late winter, you can clean up your planters or buy new containers and fill them with planting soil. This way, you will be ready to add plants when they arrive at your garden center. Since it is easy to become excited by stunning new varieties you see in catalogs, you may order more plants than you have space for. So, it's time to build garden beds, install window boxes, and order new containers to ensure you have enough space for your plants.

If you need help finding a list of beautiful summer-flowering bulbs to plant in spring, look at our "20 bulbs to plant in spring for summer blooms" article.

Wrap Up

Spring is the busiest season for gardeners, and a great spring garden requires timely preparation and maintenance to develop. So, consider these five rules, work on them, and you will be ready for the spring season.

If you have questions about building raised beds or buying gardening tools, contact our friendly team or visit Don't wait until early Summer to get started on these 5 tasks, your garden will thrive if you start your Spring task in late winter.