Survey the Yard

Make note of tree limbs that should be removed or cabled and cut down last year’s perennial foliage, and toss it into the compost pile.

Order tools and plants

Tune up tools so everything is ready when things start growing. Make note of what is missing, and order tools for the new growing season. Choose new plants for the garden.

Get ready to mow

Send the mower and leaf blower for servicing, or if you have the right tools, sharpen the mower blades yourself. Clear the lawn of winter debris, and look for areas that need reseeding before mowing.

Take a soil test

Check soil pH with a home soil- test kit, taking several samples from different planting areas for an accurate reading. Enrich soil as necessary: Add dolomitic lime to raise the pH or elemental sulfur to lower the pH.


Plant bare-root trees, shrubs, and perennials such as hostas and daylilies by early spring. Choose a cool, cloudy day if possible. Transplant container-grown plants anytime during the growing season except midsummer; be sure to water them thoroughly

Start a compost pile

Start a compost pile, or use a compost bin, if you don’t have one already. Begin by collecting plant debris and leaves raked up from the garden. Chop these up first to speed decomposition. Turn regularly. Continue adding to the pile throughout the season for rich, homemade compost next spring.