Spring is around the corner and at Texas Land Design we know you can’t wait to get outside and work in your garden! Since most people find working in their garden to be relaxing and enjoyable, we want to give you a few tips to help you prepare for your spring cleanup.

If you have not done it yet, removing leaves and broken branches will be easy to take care of and is the best place to start. If you have a wooded lot, this will allow you to see the other work that needs to be done to clean the garden.

Plants will soon begin to show new growth, so now is a great time to get to trimming and rein in those wild growers! It’s much easier to cut plants back before the old growth gets tangled with the new growth. So, after you sharpen your trimmers, just follow these simple ideas:

All Annual plants from last year will not grow back and will need to be removed and additional plants will need to be purchased if you want the space filled. Native and adaptive perennial plants are a great option to consider since they will return in our Texas climate year after year. Texas is a huge landmass with varying climates, so for those of you following our blog from outside of north central Texas, please match the plant to your climate!

Many Perennial plants actually prefer to be left standing throughout the winter for extra protection, so now is a great time to clean up last year’s growth and cut them back to a few inches off the ground. This will allow them to begin fresh this year with all new growth and your garden will look fresh and clean.

Most Evergreen plants and shrubs can also be trimmed at this time to a height that works best for your landscape. They enjoy a little hair cut to encourage fresh growth! By the way, when we design a new landscape, we design in shrubs that only require being trimmed once a year, in the springtime. Life is busy enough, who has time for high maintenance shrubs?

Perennial flowering shrubs can be cut back each spring. These are pruned in the spring, to limit winter damage and to encourage those that flower to start sending out new flowering branches. It’s best to wait until danger of a hard freeze is past.

Examples of flowering trees and shrubs to prune in late winter to early spring, while dormant: * Autumn Sage (we use it as a shrub that happens to flower) * Butterfly Bush * Crape Myrtle (don’t top or cut flat on top; only thin the trunks and branches) * Flowering Dogwood * Honeysuckle * Hydrangea * Vitex * Redbud * Spirea * Knockout Rose
However, you may decide to wait until after the bloom cycle to trim some early bloomers:
* Azalea * Hawthorn * Mountain Laurel

Decorative Grasses can be cut back now to 6-8 inches above the ground and will begin to grow at their own pace. You do not need to wait to see new growth, like you would a lawn, before you cut them back. Getting ride of last years stems will help you feel like you have your new landscape back again.

Weeding in the early spring is also a great way to get your garden off to a good start. The soil is normally still soft and makes it easier to pull, making this chore, some what more enjoyable. If you need more motivation to fight these marauding invaders, just think about this: if you do not remove them before they drop seeds, next year they will have you greatly outnumbered!!

After all is done, make sure to add a layer of 3 inches of mulch to conserve water, cool the plants roots, feed the soil and smother weeds. We highly recommend finely shredded cedar or hardwood mulch.

Water Gardens also need a good spring cleaning. The spring cleanout is beneficial in that it removes the dead decomposing organisms to help keep your pond/pondless water clean and your fish healthy this following year. Following the steps below will give you a head start to your after work evenings relaxing by the pond.

The steps we take are as follows:

 Drain Pond
 Place fish in holding container
 Empty Debris from Pond and Net/Basket
 Power wash rock and gravel
 Reposition rock and gravel
 Rinse pond down
 Fix any settling edges adding rock/gravel as needed
 Clean Skimmer
 Clean BioFalls
 Clean or replace filter mats as needed
 Clean bog filter
 Clean Pondless Waterfall Basin
 Divide and trim over grown plants/Remove decaying aquatic plants
 Check all underwater lights/Replace light bulbs as needed
 Reset Transformer
 Decholrinate water
 Acclimate fish to pond
 Reconnected pump and check for proper flow
 Check and adjust automatic fill valve
 Add Aquaclearer Extreme Bacteria

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