06 Gardening Tips Every Gardener Should Know

1. Know your USDA Hardiness Zone. Use it as a guide to avoid planting trees, shrubs, and perennials that won’t survive winters in your area. You’ll also get a better idea of when to expect your last frost date in spring, so you know when you can plant vegetables, fruits, and annuals outside in your area.

2. Not sure when to prune? Prune spring-flowering shrubs, such as lilacs, and large-flower climbing roses, immediately after the blooms fade. They set their flower buds in autumn on last year’s growth. If you prune them in fall or winter, you remove next spring’s flower buds.

3. Apply only composted, rotted manure that has cured for at least six months to your soil. Fresh manure is too high in nitrogen and can “burn” plants; it may also contain pathogens or parasites. Manure from pigs, dogs, and cats should never be used in gardens or compost piles because they may contain parasites that can infect humans.

4. Perennials generally need three years to achieve their mature size after you plant them. Remember the adage that they “sleep, creep, and leap” each year, respectively.

5. Learn how long your growing season is (the time between your last frost in spring and first frost in fall), so you can start some plants inside or avoid growing them.

6.Deadheading is a good practice for perennials and annuals. Because the goal of annual plants is to flower, set seed, and die, when you remove the old blooms, it tells annual plants to produce more flowers. Removing spent flowers also encourages plants to use their energy to grow stronger leaves and roots instead of seed production. Avoid deadheading plants grown primarily for decorative fruits or pods, such as money plants (Lunaria).


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