As a lawn and garden enthusiast, I find spring particularly invigorating—new life is bursting forth throughout the garden, shrubs and trees are in bloom and the lawn is waking up from a winter’s sleep. As you start to tend the yard and work up your flower beds again this spring, here are some tips to keep things looking their best as well as a few of my favorite new plants for your yard and patio.
First, April is the best time to apply pre-emergent weed control to your lawn. While moss control—which I wrote about last month—can be applied anytime, controlling grassy weeds like poa annua (or annual bluegrass) and crabgrass is best done before the end of April to ensure a lawn free of grassy weeds through the summer months.
Broadleaf weeds like dandelions are relatively easy to kill, but grassy weeds can be tougher—their genetic traits make them difficult to kill without also damaging the good grass in your lawn. Poa, identified by its light green blade and small white seed head, is particularly tough to control, but thankfully, a good pre-emergent like Bonide Crabgrass Plus–available at Vander Giessen Nursery–will do the trick.
As an added benefit over other pre-emergent weed killers, Crabgrass Plus also kills existing grassy weeds, so if you already have poa in your lawn, you’ll be able to kill what’s already there and prevent it from coming back. I’ve also found this product to be helpful in killing and preventing a wide variety of other weeds in my lawn, so I highly recommend finding some time this month for an ounce of prevention!
Second, April is the perfect time to discover some exciting new plants in garden centers. One of my must-haves this spring is Wine & Roses rhododendron. Two of the most common complaints I hear about rhododendrons are that they get too big and only look nice a few weeks out of the year. Wine & Roses solves both of those problems!
Compared to most of its predecessors, Wine & Roses is a much better-behaved plant for the garden. Growing to just three to four feet tall and wide, it’s a good fit for just about any garden space. Its best quality, though, is not its size but rather the leaf color. The underside of each dark green leaf is a gorgeous shade of merlot red, adding stunning color to the garden year-round. In the spring, rose-colored blooms compliment the two-tone foliage, making this a true showstopper.
Another category of plant I’m excited about this spring is decorative plants that also taste good! Raspberry Shortcake dwarf raspberry and Babycakes dwarf thornless blackberry are both great miniature berry plants perfect for growing in a pot on the deck or patio. With no need for staking or support, they’ll each grow three to four feet tall and about two feet wide and produce an abundance of large, tasty fruit.
Blueberries are another great plant to grow for both landscape interest and fruit production, but you may not have the space for a full-sized variety. Bushel & Berry dwarf blueberries may be just what you need! Jelly Bean is one great miniature variety well-suited for small spaces or container growing, topping out at just two feet tall. Blueberry Glaze is another dwarf variety with glossy, boxwood-like leaves and colorful fruit which starts out yellow and red before maturing to dark blue. Lastly, Pink Icing blueberry grows to just three to four feet, with pink-tinged new growth in the spring—and it keeps some leaves year-round, adding further foliage interest even in winter.
Although the weather is still less than ideal, spring is here, so make the most of it and add some fun new plants to your garden that you can enjoy for years to come!