Baltimore weather has been unpredictable at best this spring. We’ve seen 75-degree afternoons, followed by snow on our daffodils the next day. Some of us may have jumped the gun on spring plantings, while others of us watch our sprouted vegetables begin to outgrow their seedling cups while we wait for a stretch of warm weather that would allow us to put them in the ground. So what CAN you do right now that won’t be undone by colder temperatures at night?
Prune Summer-Flowering Trees and Shrubs
Plants that bloom in summer, such as potentilla and crape myrtle, produce their flowers on new growth from the current season. Prune them in winter while they're dormant, or in early spring just before they push out their new growth. Remove winter-damaged stems on your roses. If your repeat bloomers have become overgrown, now is the time to cut them back.
Plan new landscaping projects on paper first. Do not over plant. Be sure you know the mature size of each plant and allow for growth.
Tilling the Soil
Clean up any leftover dried debris from garden beds and toss in the compost pile. Add organic matter to soil to improve soil and drainage. Be careful working your garden soil! Working soil when it is still too wet creates compacted clots. Wait for dry spells
The Baltimore area is a planting Zone 7. Both annuals and perennials can be zone 7 plants if you keep your eye on the last frost date, April 15. Once you don’t have to worry about frost, it’s time to dive into flower planting. April is the time to sow annual seeds in prepared garden beds. You can also set out any flower seedlings you started indoors.
Wait until after April 15 to plant new roses. That’s the best time to plant caladiums and snapdragons as well. Start planting summer flowering bulbs in April, like gladioli and dahlias in groups every few weeks. This translates into a longer blooming season.
Plant new trees and shrubs by the end of April.
Your Lawn Can Use Some TLC
Pick up the sticks that have fallen over winter and any leaves that have been blown into your yard. Raking the lawn and removing debris will encourage better air flow throughout the turf grass and prevent any disease and insect infestation. It will also allow new grass blades to grow without struggle. Starting with a clean slate is the first step to getting your lawn off to a good start.