With lives upended due to the coronavirus, many of us are spending some unexpected time at home. The silver lining is we have more time to work in the garden. Here's a review what to do, and not do, in the garden now.
Fruits trees and some ornamental shrubs should be pruned now. First remove the dead, diseased and broken branches cutting back to a side branch or trunk. Remove suckers and water sprouts and any crossing and rubbing branches. Prune shrubs that bloom later in summer and fall now such as panicle hydrangea, rose of Sharon and butterfly bush. Don't prune spring blooming plants such as lilac, forsythia, rhododendron, and weigela now or you'll remove the flower buds. After pruning, spray with a dormant oil spray to coat the branches and kill overwintering insect eggs and larvae. Spray on a calm day when temperatures are above 40˚ F.
Many people are thinking about growing some vegetables this year. The best way is in raised beds. Make beds from rot resistant woods, such as cedar, or stone, brick, pavers, or metal to elevate the beds making it easier to garden, less weedy and more productive. Learn more in my April 9th webinar at gardeningwithcharlie.com.
It's still too early to start tomato seeds indoors. Wait another week or so to avoid tall, leggy seedlings in May. Avoid walking on wet lawns or gardens so you don't compact the soil. Wait to clean up the perennial flower gardens as there may be overwintering pollinator insects in the leaf layer. Wait until after we get a week of 50˚ F days.