MONTHLY GARDENING TIPS

PLAN AHEAD, GET AHEAD

EASY TO FOLLOW MONTHLY TIPS TO HELP YOU WITH YOUR GARDENING

We’ve compiled a list of monthly gardening tips that cover a variety of topics that will help you with your gardening tasks throughout the year. Keeping on top of your garden & yard chores will make your outdoor & indoor space more enjoyable, attractive, and healthy. You are always welcome to call us at 812-537-3800 or stop in the garden center for additional information and gardening advice.

JANUARY

FEED THE BIRDS

Feeding and watching wild song birds is fun anytime of the year. However, during winter months these feathered critters have a limited supply of food. Help them thrive by hanging various feeders in your yard. You’ll be amazed at the diverse types of birds that flock to these tasty treats!

ADD SOME HOUSEPLANTS

Liven up your indoor space! Not only are they nice to look at, but houseplants clean the air in your home, taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. For beginners, try one of our top-sellers or easy-growers.

PRUNE EVERGREENS

Pruning evergreens in the cold, winter months minimizes sap flow. Be sure not to cut back into the dormant, old growth.

TURN THE SOIL

Turning the soil brings insect pests to the surface, exposed to cold temperatures and predators. It also helps break up the soil for easier spring plantings. Choose a nice day when the ground isn’t frozen, using a shovel or hand-trowel to dig in.

 

February

PRUNE DECIDUOUS TREES

Pruning deciduous trees is easier to accomplish this time of year, when branches are bare without leaves obstructing views. Dormant, these trees handle the cutting better than when they’re actively growing. Use caution when pruning spring-flowering trees at this time or you could be cutting off all of the flower buds.

WATER YOUR PLANTS

It’s a good idea to ensure your plants have enough water leading up to spring. Dry, brittle plants could become stressed and lead to bigger problems throughout the growing season.

SEED YOUR LAWN

Dormant seeding can be done November through February, although February has been said to be the most successful. This act gives homeowners a jump start on establishing a lush lawn before obnoxious weeds start to find their way in starting spring. Use a broadcast spreader and once complete, rake the soil surface lightly to ensure direct contact. Cover with straw to prevent erosion.

CUT BACK ORNAMENTAL GRASS

After you’ve provided wildlife with coverage during the winter from your ornamental grasses, cut them back 3-6” from the ground. This will allow fresh, new growth in the spring. For less mess, we advise bundling the grass with rope or a bungee cord before cutting.

March

START SEEDS INDOORS

If you’re planning on starting plants that have to wait to go outdoors until the frost-free date, now is the perfect opportunity to do so. Promptly cultivating these plants will have them ready for transplanting come mid-May.

PRUNE OUT ANY WINTER DAMAGE ON TREES & SHRUBS

Now that winter is at its end, you may see some damage to your plants from ice, snow, hail or wind. Head outside and rid of any unsightly or unhealthy winter damage to branches and shoots.

CHECK YOUR SOIL

Heavy-clay or sand based soils make for poor drainage, which can have a bad effect on plants. Amendments that are heavy in organic matter should be mixed with the existing soil to create better water retention, permeability, infiltration and drainage as well as nutrient availability.

FERTILIZE YOUR PLANTS

An early application of fertilizer will ensure it’s available to plants to help them thrive once they start actively growing. Be sure to thoroughly water-in the fertilizer if using a granular.

April

PLANT TREES, SHRUBS & PERENNIALS

With soil thawed, warmer temperatures, and sufficient rainfall, now is a great time to plant hardy landscape plants. Spring plantings are able to establish a larger root system before the hot summer hits. Need advice on what to plant? We’d love to see you in the garden center!

DIVIDE YOUR PERENNIALS

After a few growing seasons, perennials can become overcrowded, causing fungal and insect pests, poor growing habit and declining blooms. To avoid this, split perennials every 3-4 years and give them enough growing space to flourish. Be sure to give them a good drink after planting.

PRUNE ROSE SHRUBS

Pruning rose shrubs encourages new growth, and their new growth encourages new flowers. We recommend pruning rose shrubs in early spring, right before the bloom time as flower buds are starting to swell, but encourage removing spent flowers and dead canes anytime when present. It’s also a good idea to fertilize roses at this time to supply nutrients they will use for the new growth.

PROTECT NEW TENDER PLANT GROWTH FROM DEER

Perfect growing conditions in spring bring newly emerged growth from most landscape plants. We recommend homeowners take caution and necessary actions as this tender, succulent new growth will be very tasty and tempting for the deer. Stop in our garden center and pick up a bottle of environmentally-friendly BobbexTM deer repellent spray to effectively deter them.

May

PLANT TENDER ANNUALS, HERBS & VEGETABLES

This is one of the most exciting times of the year… frost-free time! For our area, May 15th or Mother’s Day is the start of the frost-free period and is the time to plant tender annuals, herbs, & veggies in your garden.

MULCH PLANT BEDS

With spring-plantings complete, add a layer of mulch to your landscape beds to retain moisture, inhibit obnoxious weeds, and create a clean and eye-catching appearance. Casey’s offers a large selection of mulch, both bagged and bulk. Not sure how much you need? Calculate the square footage of the area you’re covering and contact us for a recommended amount.

REMEMBER MOM ON MOTHER’S DAY

Show her your appreciation with a beautiful hanging basket, blooming shrub, gift certificate or a fresh flower arrangement. You’ll find something at Casey’s that’s sure to brighten her day. We’ll even deliver for an extra special surprise!

PRUNE SPRING FLOWERING SHRUBS & TREES

Since spring-blooming plants typically set their flower buds the year prior to blooming and overwinter on the plant, opening in spring, we discourage pruning them once late summer/fall hits. Late pruning of these plants removes the next year’s flower buds. Considering many plants look their best when allowed to grow into their natural habit, prune only when necessary.

June

KEEP YOUR LAWN HEALTHY

Keep your lawn healthier and greener this summer by supplying sufficient water. It is also advised to raise your mower height to 2 ½-3” which helps roots expand deeper into the soil, building your lawn’s resistance to stress.

FERTILIZE YOUR ANNUALS

Annual plants complete their lifecycle, from germination to the production of seed, within one year and then die. With such a short lifespan, these plants are heavy-feeders. The first option of fertilizing annuals is by adding a slow-release granular at planting that will continuously feed the plant throughout the season (typically feeds for 3-4 months). Granular fertilizers should be watered-in well at the time of applying. Another option is using liquid fertilization that instantly adds nutrients. Liquid fertilizers should typically be re-applied every 10-14 days.

LOOK OUT FOR FUNGAL DISEASES

With the cool, damp spring coming to an end, you may start to see signs of fungal diseases in your garden. Apply a fungicide to the affected plants, clean up fallen leaf debris and allow good air flow around the plant(s). Keeping up on yard/garden sanitation will minimize future disease outbreaks.

DEAD-HEAD FLOWERING PLANTS

Once a week, stroll around your garden, dead-heading your flowering plants. Not only does it improve the appearance of the plants, but also encourages continuing blooms! Always clean your pruners in between cuts to avoid spreading harmful diseases.

July

WATER THIRSTY PLANTS

July can be a rough month for some plants. With hot temperatures and dry spells, they may not be getting all the water they need to be healthy. All plants have different watering needs, but there is a general way to tell if a plant needs water. Feel the soil. If the soil is moist, you won’t need to do anything, if it’s dry, water is needed. Watering is best done in the morning, or early afternoon.

CUT BACK ANNUALS

With 2 months of growth under their belt, you may see some of your flowering annuals becoming leggy with sparse flowers. To rejuvenate, cut stems back ½ way from the base. Continue watering and fertilizing, and your rejuvenated plants will look great into fall.

CLEAN UP PERENNIALS

To keep your garden looking tidy, give your perennials a mid-season clean up. Remove all spent blooms and dead foliage. Also at this time, trim perennials that have become leggy or overgrown.

STOP FERTILIZATION

Because new growth of trees & shrubs must harden off and mature before freezing temperatures set in, we advise cutting off fertilizer applications at this time. Late-season growth is susceptible to cold injury.

August

CONSIDER A FIRE PIT

The most attractive way to heat up your outdoor space is by installing a fire pit. With cooler temperatures coming, now is a perfect time to create a warm outdoor center piece for family and guests to enjoy. Casey’s has everything you need to accomplish the project!

ADD SOME LATE-SEASON BLOOMING PLANTS.

Towards the later part of the growing season, you may realize your garden lacks color. This is a great time to add late blooming perennials such as black-eyed-susan, ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum, or goldenrod to keep an interesting appearance for years to come.

CONTINUE WATERING

Still in the heat of summer, it is wise to continue paying attention to your plants’ watering needs. Letting plants go without water causes stress which can lead to a long list of problems. Water in the morning, or early afternoon to allow water to soak deep into the soil, minimizing loss to evaporation.

ADD COLOR WITH FALL ANNUALS

With summer coming to an end, your ornamental annuals are probably looking a little rough and faded. Be on the look-out for fall annuals that add a fresh pop of color to your garden or entryway.

September

SEED & FERTILIZE YOUR LAWN

In autumn, soil is warm from months of summer sun and staying moist with cooler temperatures, enhancing the germination process and making it the best time to seed your lawn. Also, insect pests and weed pressure are less prevalent, letting grass seedlings establish easier. Fertilizing your lawn in the fall replenishes it with nutrients needed to prepare for winter dormancy. It will also strengthen the roots & help store nutrients for early spring.

START COOL-SEASON CROPS

Cool-season vegetable crops such as cabbage, radishes, kale & leafy greens should be sown now for a late harvest. These crops actually taste better once they’ve matured in cool weather.

PLANT TREES, SHRUBS, & PERENNIALS

Fall is for planting! Warm soil temperatures and cooler air temperatures help plants establish their root systems before winter. Stop in our garden center and shop our large selection of trees, shrubs and perennials.

FALL CLEAN-UP

Cleaning up your planting beds at the end of the growing season promotes a sanitary garden. Remove fallen leaves and plant debris and be sure to bag and throw out or destroy any that is diseased. Composting the diseased debris will spread the infection to other parts of your garden. Keep up on removing weeds to prevent further sprouts. Cut any dead, diseased and damaged branches from trees and shrubs.

October

DECORATE YOUR HOME FOR FALL

Fall is the perfect time to make your home cozy and add curb appeal. Place pumpkins, gourds, and colorful mums on our porch or in a flowerbed to welcome autumn. Casey’s always has a great selection of seasonal fall items for indoors and outdoors.

WATCH FOR FALLING TEMPERATURES

The average first-frost date for our area is October 15th. Tender plants such as tropicals should be moved indoors before the first frost arrives. Next spring, slowly acclimate plants back outdoors to prevent damage.

PLANT SPRING-BLOOMING BULBS

Spring-flowering bulbs must be planted in the fall, while temperatures are cooler, but before the ground freezes. Ideally, the bulbs should be planted with time to establish roots before the harsh winter conditions take place.

DIG UP TENDER BULBS

Most tender bulbs should be dug up after the first hard frost. Once the bulb foliage turns brown and dries out, it is time to remove them from the ground. Cut the bulb foliage back to the ground. Be sure not to accidentally cut into the bulbs, doing so makes them vulnerable to diseases. Lift gently from the ground and let the bulbs dry out before storing them in a cool, dry place.

WINTERIZE FOUNTAINS/WATER FEATURES

To ensure your water feature lasts for years to come, a few steps should be taken to prepare for harsh winter conditions. Remove the pump, allow it to dry and then store it for the winter. Drain your water feature to protect against freeze/thaw damage, allow it to completely dry, and then cover it with a tarp or fountain cover to prevent any additional moisture from settling within. If the water feature is small and manageable, drain, allow it to dry, and then store inside a shed or garage.

November

MULCH YOUR FALLEN LEAVES

Rather than completely removing all of the fallen leaves from your yard, mulch them with a mower and leave as a layer over your yard. Over time, the leaves will break-down and add nutrients to the soil.

CUT BACK PERENNIALS

With a few frosty mornings already, your perennials are probably dying back to the ground and looking unsightly. Go ahead and cut back perennials that have been damaged by the cold temperatures. If some are still standing strong, you can let them go and enjoy into winter. Some perennials, like coneflower, black eyed susan and baptisia provide seeds that birds feed on throughout winter, so wait until spring to cut them back.

LEAVE ORNAMENTAL GRASSES FOR WILDLIFE COVER

Not only does it give you something to look at during the winter, ornamental grass provides shelter for wildlife. Wait until late winter or early spring to trim grasses back to 3-6” above the soil surface.

WATER YOUR PLANTS BEFORE A HARD FREEZE

Make sure your plants have a good drink of water before hard freezes set in. Evergreens especially need enough moisture since they retain their foliage through winter. Dry conditions lead to winter burn.

December

PROTECT YOUR PLANTS

With harsh winter conditions coming, add a layer of mulch around the base of your plants to keep roots warmer and moisture retained. Evergreens that hold their foliage throughout the winter especially need moisture to avoid dry, brittle foliage that often causes permanent damage.

LAST CHANCE TO PLANT SPRING BULBS

If the ground is still thawed, now is the last chance to plant spring blooming bulbs. Adding spring bulbs to your garden makes spring time even more enjoyable!

DECORATE FOR WINTER

Don’t put your containers up just yet! Add some flare to your entryway with holiday porch pots. From pottery, to fresh greenery, to ribbon and holiday picks, Casey’s has all the supplies you will need to create a unique, personalized holiday porch pot. Want to place a custom order? Call us at 812-537-3800 or stop in the garden center.

WATCH THE SALT

Planting beds along sidewalks and driveways often take a beating during the winter due to salt. Use caution when spreading salt and try to keep it out of the beds to reduce damage. There are “greener” ice melt alternatives available that are much safer for areas with nearby plantings.