Elevate Your Garden Game: Expert Strategies to Ready Your Albuquerque Garden and Lawn for Spring – Part Two

Elevate Your Garden Game— Expert Strategies to Ready Your Albuquerque Garden and Lawn for Spring – Part Two

Spring has sprung in Albuquerque! The weather is warming up, and your Albuquerque garden, lawn and all the plants are waking up, and it’s time to get busy in the garden and yard. Follow these tips to make sure your landscape is ready for a gorgeous, productive spring season.

Dig Up and Move Those Perennials

Now is the perfect time to dig up perennial flowers that have gotten too big for their space. Carefully dig up the plants, keeping as much soil around the roots as possible. Replant them in a new spot in the garden, or give divisions to gardening friends. Water the transplants well to reduce transplant shock.

However, leave early spring bloomers that are already sprouting alone for now. Transplant things like daffodils and tulips in the fall after they are done flowering. No need to stress them out when they are trying to put on a spring show!

Remove Old Leaves

Grab a rake and do some spring cleaning in the yard and gardens. Rake up any fallen leaves from last fall so your lawn and garden beds have a clean slate.

But there’s no need to rake up every last leaf under trees or shrubs. Leave some for natural mulch. Just rake up any thick, matted piles that could smother grass and groundcovers.

While you have the rake out, lightly rake over the lawn to remove dead grass before overseeding thin spots. An aerated lawn helps seedlings establish.

Remove Winter Protective Covers

If you wrapped or covered any tender trees or shrubs last fall, it’s time to remove those protective layers. Carefully cut and remove any tree wrap, burlap or protective fencing.

Also, cut loose any tree stakes and ties if the tree has been in the ground more than a year. By now, the roots should be established enough to support itself. Removing ties prevents rubbing injuries to the bark.

Garden and Lawn Care

Get a jump on weeds and feed the lawn at the same time by applying a weed and feed fertilizer. Look for a fertilizer that also prevents crabgrass if that has been a problem in your yard.

Follow the product instructions to determine the right timing. For example, apply when forsythia bushes bloom or when you see the first dandelions popping up. Zap those weeds early!

Edge Beds and Lawns

Use a manual edger or power edger to cut crisp, clean edges along gardens and lawns. This serves a practical purpose, not just cosmetic. Edging creates a little trench that you can fill with compost or mulch after edging.

It also stops grass and weeds from creeping into the beds. Making this task part of your spring routine keeps everything looking tidy all season long.

Fertilize the Lawn

Give your plants a feast with fertilizer and mulch! Apply a balanced vegetable and flower fertilizer to gardens according to package directions.

For the lawn, use a high nitrogen fertilizer formulated specifically for grass. Time it for when daytime highs are in the 50s or 60s. The soil temperature should be at least 55 degrees F.

Replenish mulch in beds and tree rings to a depth of 2-4 inches. Mulch conserves moisture and keeps weeds down.

Prune Spring Flowering Shrubs

Spring flowering shrubs like lilacs, forsythia and spirea should be pruned immediately after flowering. Don’t wait!

Cut out the oldest wood all the way to the ground to encourage new growth. Leave any green stems, as they will flower next year. Renew shrubs annually to maintain a healthy shape and vigorous blooming.

Plant Warm-Weather Favorites

Now is the perfect time to plant warm-season annuals, perennials and vegetables. Wait until after the average last frost date, which is generally around May 1st in Albuquerque.

You can get a head start by growing transplants indoors under grow lights 4-6 weeks before the average last frost. Harden off the seedlings and transplant them outside after all danger of frost has passed.

Control Pests

Keep a close eye out for common garden pests like aphids, cabbage worms, tomato hornworms, squash bugs and more. At the first sign of damage, take action with organic pesticides like insecticidal soap, neem oil or Bt-k.

Beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings can also help keep pests in check. Use row covers to physically exclude pests from plants.

Deadhead Done Flowers

Snap or pinch off spent blooms from spring bulbs and perennials. Deadheading directs the plant’s energy into making more flowers instead of seeds.

It also keeps plants looking neat and tidy. Let the foliage die back naturally instead of cutting it so the plants can store food for next year.

Start Composting

Composting kitchen and yard waste provides free “black gold” to enrich your garden soil. Invest in a compost bin and start adding nitrogen-rich “greens” like grass clippings, fruit and veggie scraps, coffee grounds and more.

Mix in carbon-rich “browns” like dead leaves and shredded paper to balance it out. Turn or stir the compost pile weekly. In a few months, you’ll have nourishing compost to mix into garden beds!

Freshen Up Containers

Get those planters and hanging baskets ready for the season by clearing out last year’s spent plants and old soil. Scrub off any salt deposits from watering with hard water.

Refill them with fresh potting mix enriched with worm castings or compost. Then, you can replant with colorful flowers, veggies or herbs for the new season.

Water Well

Check your irrigation system to make sure it’s ready for spring. Inspect sprinkler heads and repair any that are broken or clogged. Start the system up and run it to check for leaks, coverage issues or other problems.

Proper watering is essential now that things are growing quickly. Hand water any dry or stressed areas that need a boost.

Care for Garden Tools

Sharpen, clean and lubricate those shovels, trowels, pruners and other garden tools. Proper care makes spring garden tasks much easier on your hands, wrists and arms.

Dull tools require extra force that can lead to strains and injuries. Remove any rust, sanitize tools and use sharpening stones or files to put a keen edge on cutting blades.

Spruce Up Garden Decor

Breathe new life into faded garden decor like benches, trellises and stepping stones with a fresh coat of paint or waterproof sealant.

Replace tired old patio cushions and pillows so you have comfy places to relax in the garden after all your spring sprucing up is complete!

Record Your Garden Journey

Start a garden journal this season. Document what you plant and how well it grows under certain conditions and care. Make notes on what works well in your yard and what doesn’t.

Refer back to it when planning next spring’s garden so you can repeat successes. Tweak things that failed to help improve your gardening skills each season.