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Revive Your Garden: Spring Clean-up and Prep Tips

As we bid farewell to winter, it’s time to welcome the warmer weather and revive your garden for spring. Spring brings new life and growth, making it the ideal time to set your landscape up for a successful and flourishing season. So, from pruning and cutting to uncovering garden beds, moving plants, controlling pests, and seeding your lawn, our spring clean-up guide has got your to-do list covered. These spring clean-up and prep tips will get your garden ready for a thriving and beautiful season.

Pruning and Cutting

The first step in reviving your garden this spring is pruning and cutting. Winter can be harsh on your plants, so you may have dead or damaged branches to remove. Therefore, prune away any damaged, diseased, or dead branches, and cut back any old growth that’s looking scraggly. This will encourage new growth and keep your plants looking healthy and vibrant. Keep in mind that when pruning, you must consider your tree or shrub’s blooming season. For spring bloomers like lilacs, witch hazels, or forsythias, wait until after they flower to prune. Otherwise you might accidentally snip away this year’s blossoms.


As the snow melts in Grand Rapids, it’s the perfect time to uncover your garden beds, shrubs, and trees. Clear away any winter debris, fallen leaves, and protective mulch from the fall season. This helps the soil warm up and promotes new growth. But remember not to uncover too early if frost is still a possibility! When uncovering your beds, take the opportunity to turn over the existing mulch and consider adding fresh mulch too. Over winter, mulch tends to settle. Flipping it over refreshes it, allows better airflow to the soil, and prevents decay. Adding fresh mulch can further enrich your garden beds. However if you do need additional mulch, ensure it’s no more than 3 inches deep for optimal results.

Soil Amending

In addition, amending soil in the spring is an essential step to revive your garden and prepare it for a successful growing season. It helps improve soil structure, provides essential nutrients, and also creates an ideal environment for plant growth. Here are some key aspects of soil amending in spring:

  1. Test your soil: Before amending the soil, it’s important to test it to determine its pH level, nutrient content, and any deficiencies. This information will guide you on what amendments are needed for optimal plant growth.
  2. Add organic matter: One of the best ways to improve soil structure and provide nutrients is by adding organic matter, such as compost or manure. Organic matter improves soil aeration, water retention, and supports beneficial microorganisms that help plants absorb nutrients.
  3. Adjust soil pH: Based on your soil test results, you may need to adjust the pH level of your soil. Most plants prefer a slightly acidic to neutral pH (between 6.0 and 7.0). If your soil is too acidic, add lime to raise the pH. If it’s too alkaline, add sulfur or peat moss to lower the pH.
  4. Fertilize: Depending on your soil test results and the plants you’re growing, you may need to add fertilizer to provide additional nutrients. Choose a balanced, slow-release fertilizer that’s appropriate for your plants, and follow the recommended application rates.
  5. Incorporate amendments: Thoroughly mix the amendments into the top 6-12 inches of soil. This can be done using a garden fork, spade, or rototiller. Be sure to break up any large clumps of soil and remove rocks or debris as you work.
  6. Allow time for the amendments to work: After amending your soil, give it some time (1-2 weeks) to settle and for the amendments to start taking effect before planting. This allows the soil’s structure, pH, and nutrient levels to stabilize, setting the stage for a successful growing season.

Don’t forget that your raised beds and container gardens need some love too! The soil in these environments can also become depleted of nutrients over time, so make sure to rejuvenate it by adding fresh soil and organic matter, such as compost or manure, to maintain a healthy and productive growing space. Unlock the secret to a thriving garden with our soil testing services! Understand your soil’s nutrients and pH balance to create the perfect environment for your plants.

Soil Testing at Flowerland

Unlock the secret to a thriving garden with our soil testing services! Understand your soil’s nutrients and pH balance to create the perfect environment for your plants. Visit our soil testing page for more information on how to submit a sample and achieve gardening success.

Relocating Plants

Spring also presents the perfect opportunity to relocate plants that have outgrown their spot or aren’t flourishing. As the ground starts to thaw, digging up and transplanting your plants becomes easier. Remember to water your plants well before and after transplanting to avoid shock. Preparing the soil in your plant’s new location is crucial, whether it’s spring or fall. Incorporate organic matter, slow-release fertilizer, and a rooting agent into the existing soil where you’re moving the plant. This will promote successful establishment and minimize any transplant shock.

Mole and Critter Control

As spring arrives, critters stir in your garden. Protect your plants and lawn with effective critter control measures. Moles can harm your lawn, so act early. Utilize traps or repellents to deter them. For other animals, consider installing fences or using repellents to safeguard your garden. Stay vigilant for a critter-free space.

REPELLENT TIP: Concerned about using repellents? Natural options exist. They work on the animal’s senses using ingredients like garlic oil and putrescent egg. The scent and flavor repel the animals without harm to your garden soil.

Fall Lawn Seeding

Seeding Your Lawn

Finally, it’s important to wait until the soil temperature reaches around 56 degrees for the seeds to germinate properly, even if you’re eager to seed your lawn as soon as the snow melts away. This usually happens in mid to late May, depending on your location in the Grand Rapids area.

For successful seeding, ensure good seed-to-soil contact. We recommend core aerating first, which allows for penetration through any existing thatch in your lawn. If you prefer raking, choose regular hand raking instead of power raking. Hand raking is gentler on the grass crown and achieves the desired results.

To fully enjoy the warmer months, it’s important to revive your garden now by tackling spring clean-up tasks. By pruning and cutting away any damaged or dead branches, uncovering garden beds, relocating plants, controlling pests, and seeding your lawn at the right time, you’ll cultivate a healthy, vibrant garden that flourishes throughout the season. Don’t underestimate the power of a thorough spring garden clean-up and prep. It’s the foundation of a beautiful outdoor space!


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