For as enthusiastic about gardening as I am, I’ll admit I find winter a wonderful season of refreshment with few gardening tasks. And this year, for the first time in several, we’ve experienced a real winter, complete with cold temperatures and snow. That said, spring isn’t far away, and as you work on your New Year’s resolutions, now is a great time to set some goals for your gardening endeavors in the year to come. Here are my top four gardening resolutions for 2017.

First, take time each week to pull some weeds. Not only is the time spent outside good for your health, you’ll stay better in tune with what’s happening in your garden. Maybe you’ll discover that a flowerbed isn’t getting enough water, or you might notice bugs starting to attack the foliage of some perennials. And of course, the saying “One year’s seed, seven years’ weeds” rings true—left unchecked, weeds that go to seed end up creating far more work down the road than if you’d taken time to pull them early on.

Second, mark your calendar early in the year to treat your plants for diseases. Like weeds, diseases can be difficult to control once they’ve begun to spread, so watch for issues early on, especially with susceptible plants. Fruit trees and roses are particularly at-risk, so it’s wise to spray in late winter with a dormant spray to kill fungus spores as well as insects that may have overwintered. Spraying preventatively can eliminate a season’s worth of headaches! Stop by Vander Giessen’s and let us help you choose the right product for your particular application–we have a wide selection of both organic and traditional sprays available.

Third, make it a goal to keep up with the pruning and trimming of the plants around your yard. Ideally, your landscaping would require little to no major pruning each year—manicured hedges and fruit trees being major exceptions—but even the most experienced landscape designers can make the mistake of choosing plants that get too big for their space or are simply planted too close together, requiring regular pruning.

In any case, while it’s work to prune each year, doing so will keep your landscape healthy and extend the life of your plants. Once overgrown, many shrubs (especially evergreens) reach a point at which severe pruning would disfigure or even kill the plants. So, unless you want to tear out and replace your shrubs every ten years, set aside some time to keep up with pruning this year.

Finally, it will be awhile before we start to feel the heat of summer, but make it a goal to water your lawn when the days get long and the mercury climbs. This is not to say you need to keep your lawn green—while I enjoy the feel of soft, cool green grass underfoot on a warm summer day, I understand not everyone can afford a green lawn or wants to mow all summer. Regardless, it’s still worth it to water at least twice a month.

Even though a twice-a-month watering schedule won’t keep your lawn green through July and August, it will at least keep the roots of your grass alive, and that will be enough to ensure your lawn greens up again in autumn. So, while it may be cheap and easy to skip the watering altogether, remember that it’s anything but cheap and easy to replace your lawn when it doesn’t recover after a dry summer.

As you make your resolutions for the new year, stop by Vander Giessen’s and get some advice as you work to reach each goal. From pruning to spraying to watering, there are a lot of variables that can determine the level of success you’ll achieve, so if you’re unsure, ask—we’re here to help. Enjoy the fresh start a new year brings to your garden!