Spring cleaning

Pruning branches (Illustration by Ashley Barron)

Pruning branches (Illustration by Ashley Barron)

Get your yard ready for spring

Whether you have a modest garden or a few hectares of property, you can help protect nature at home. From planning the upcoming gardening season to preparing seeds for sowing, there’s much to do, even when nature seems dormant and at rest. Cleaning up your garden for spring can revitalize the look of your yard. It can also help the plants and animals in your garden, for example, by giving insects a place to safely overwinter.

Here are a few tips from NCC stewardship staff on prepping your garden for spring:

1. Prune small shrubs and trees to maintain good form and vigour.

2. Clear away stalks of perennials that provided shelter and seeds to wildlife over the winter months. Trim plants with hollow stems to varying heights to attract cavity-nesting insects. Waiting as late into spring as possible will allow overwintering insects to emerge.

3. Divide and transplant perennials that bloomed the previous fall. Moving them while they’re dormant can minimize stress on the plants.

4. Rake lawns later in spring when temperatures reach 10 C consistently for 10 days. Do so gently to ensure you don’t disturb any caterpillars, cocoons and chrysalids.

5. Learn about which plants are native to your area and find out how you can incorporate these species into your garden.

Bonus (if you have feeders and nest boxes): sanitize feeders, bird baths and nest boxes to minimize the risk of parasites and disease for feathery visitors.

This story originally appeared in the winter 2022 issue of the Nature Conservancy of Canada Magazine. To learn more about how you can receive the magazine, click here.

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