Time flies and it is a little bit more difficult to get things posted here with Spring in full swing. I wanted to make sure I got my thoughts on Perennial care for April actually up during the right month. April is the month when things are really starting to get crazy in your perennial beds. Most plants have peeked out of the ground and many are in bloom now! Following the steps below will help things from getting to far out of control.
1. If you haven’t finished all of your Spring maint. needs such as pruning back dead foliage from the past year you want to make sure and get that finished up. In the process go ahead and remove any leaf residue and mulch that was built up or left in place to protect your plants.
2. Now is a great time to look at thinning out perennials that are overgrown and dividing plants to expand your beds. If the plant already has a decent amount of growth you can cut it back to a few inches with no harm to the plant. This will make it a little bit easier to move around.
3. Make sure you have your fertilization taken care of or get it done soon. Existing plants can be treated with a good general fertilizer such as Espoma’s Plant Tone, or top dress your beds with a very thin layer of compost. This can be worked into the ground with a gardening fork in between you plants to help get the benefits a little more quickly; this will give you the dual benefit of aerating your soil. When installing new plants or transplanting existing ones I like to use a slow release fertilizer such as Osmocote as well as a soluble fertilizer such as Ferti-Lome’s Blooming and Rooting.
4. Pre-emergent for weeds in your beds needs to go down now as well. Nothing is 100% effective but proper application three times a year will cut back on the amount of hand weeding that you have to do a great deal. If you already have any offenders (like I do) you can carefully use a general herbicide such as Roundup to kill them before they go to seed and cause even more of an issue for you next year.
I hope these help out and if you have questions about how to take care of a specific plant let me know. Have a great Spring; all of your hardwork will pay off.