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Spring is finally here. Now is as good a time as any to prepare your garden for any future flowers, plants, and vegetables you plan to grow in the upcoming season. In today’s blog, we’ll guide you through a few essential tasks to help you prepare your gardens for a season full of vibrant blooms.

Developing the March Garden: Tips to Ready Your Landscape for Spring

March is an important month for garden enthusiasts, symbolizing a shift from dormancy to life. Before moving forward with your spring garden, conduct a thorough assessment of soil conditions. Look for surfacing bulbs and perennials as this is often the first clue of soon-to-come plants.

Spring Maintenance Pruning

Spend a few hours carefully pruning away any dead or damaged branches. This not only contributes to the overall tidiness of your landscape but also fosters an environment favourable for healthy growth. Make sure your shears and hand pruners are sharpened to ensure clean cuts.  Once you’ve identified any dead, dying, damaged, disfigured, or diseased wood carefully remove them. Rather than just disposing of the pruned material, consider repurposing it as a nutrient-rich mulch or compost.

Understanding Your Pruning Schedule

When done properly, pruning has the power to elevate any landscape. However, doing it at the wrong time and using the wrong tools or techniques can result in slowed growth as well as an increased risk of disease. The ideal time for pruning generally depends on the types of plants growing in your green space. Early spring is typically considered a favourable time as it signifies the arrival of new growth while at the same time minimizing the stress on plants and maximizing their ability for hardy restoration.

When creating your pruning schedule, remember to consider the unique requirements of each plant. Flowering shrubs, for example, benefit from post-bloom pruning. Common flowering shrubs include French lilac, forsythia, and rose of Sharon. For these flowering bushes, trim away spent flowers to encourage a fresh wave of blooms later in the season. In contrast, deciduous trees often thrive with late winter or early spring pruning when they’re dormant. Summer pruning often suppresses the growth of suckers and foliage, whereas late summer or early fall pruning causes new growth that may not harden off in time for winter and could suffer cold damage or even be killed.

The Dormant Phase Advantage

Engaging in pruning during the dormant phase of plants offers distinct advantages. Without the demands of active growth, plants can allocate resources more efficiently to healing and rejuvenation. This period is typically late winter to early spring, depending on your region and climate.

When is the Best Time to Prune Your Fruit Trees?

Understanding when to prune your fruit-bearing trees is essential to their health. Below is an overview of how the seasons affect your trim:


During winter, fruit trees enter a state of dormancy, causing their growth to decelerate. Pruning at this stage can minimize stress on the tree and encourage new growth once spring arrives. However, it’s important to time your winter pruning once the coldest part of the season has passed to ensure optimal results.


Early spring remains a fan favourite for pruning. Aim to begin pruning efforts before new leaves start blooming and buds begin to billow. This allows the tree to focus all its energy on the development of fresh new growth.


Considered the least opportune time for pruning trimming in the fall pruning warrants further caution. This time of year, fungi release their spores more freely, increasing the risk of diseases affecting the tree. Moreover, the cuts made during the season may take longer to heal, leaving your tree more vulnerable.


Heavy pruning during the dry summer heat risks slowing down tree growth. If you’re going to prune in the summer, go light to maintain the tree’s structure without causing unnecessary stress.

Adjusting for Your Climate

Even with the above seasonal guidelines, it is important to account for your region’s climate. For example, when compared to inland regions, coastal areas, demonstrate different pruning periods. Become familiar with the specific needs of your garden and the distinctions of your local climate to customize your pruning schedule successfully.

How to Prune Hydrangeas

Known for their large flowerheads that come in a wide array of colours, Hydrangeas have become a staple in gardens around the Niagara Region. To ensure their showy blossoms remain a mainstay, pruning is a must. Most hydrangeas are pruned during the spring with their flower heads left over winter to protect the delicate buds underneath. However, there are a few exceptions to this.

Pruning Based on Hydrangea Types

Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea Macrophylla)

These hydrangeas are known for their large, showy blooms. To encourage prolific flowering, prune them immediately after their bloom cycle, usually in late summer or early fall. Remove spent blooms and dead wood to make way for new growth.

Panicle Hydrangeas (Hydrangea Paninculata)

Panicle hydrangeas display cone-shaped flowers and generally bloom on new wood. Prune these hydrangeas in late winter or early spring before new growth appears. Trim back about one-third of the oldest stems to promote vigorous new shoots.

Smooth Hydrangeas (Hydrangea Arborescens)

These hydrangeas feature large, round blooms and flower on new wood. Prune them in late winter or early spring to encourage a robust flush of new growth. Cut back the stems to around 6-8 inches from the ground.

Oakleaf Hydrangeas (Hydrangea Quercifolia)

Showcasing unique foliage and cone-shaped blooms, Oakleaf hydrangeas make the perfect addition to your backyard oasis. Prune them in the late winter to remove dead wood and help them retain their shape. Although compared to other hydrangeas, oakleafs require minimal pruning.  

General Pruning Tips for Hydrangeas

  • Don’t cause your plant unnecessary stress. Ensure precise cuts with pruning shears that are clean and sharp
  • To foster healthy development, remove weak or damaged steams
  • Improve air circulation and reduce the risk of disease by thinning out any dense growth
  • There comes a time when hydrangeas, like all other plants, outgrow their space.  When this happens, you can perform rejuvenation pruning in the late winter. This requires you to cut it back significantly, so be prepared for a season with reduced flowering as your hydrangea takes some time to recover

Strategic Garden Care: Maintaining Your Oasis

As spring unfolds into a vibrant tapestry of colours and fragrances, the key to sustaining this initial burst lies in strategic garden care. By adopting thoughtful practices, you not only preserve the brilliance of your garden but also cultivate a flourishing oasis that evolves gracefully throughout the seasons.

Applying Mulch

Keep weeds out and moisture in with mulch! The perks of topping off your garden with a few inches of mulch are endless. You won’t have to water nearly as often, and since the sun isn’t able to directly hit the soil, weed seeds aren’t able to germinate.

Choose from a wide variety of mulches, each with its advantages, from shredded bark and wood clippings to pine straw. If you prefer organic mulch, such as compost and bark, it will nourish the soil as it decomposes. Planting a vegetable garden or annuals? Choose a mulch that will decompose in a few months.

Apply the Right Fertilizer

Did you know that too much fertilizer can burn the roots of plants, reducing their ability to absorb water? This, in turn, makes them more susceptible to stress from drought, cold and heat. To prevent this from happening opt for a balanced, slow-release fertilizer suitable for your plant varieties, and always follow the recommended application rates.

Water Appropriately

Watering is a vital aspect of garden care. But overdo it and you could end up with waterlogged soil or pots.

Always customize your watering schedule to the needs of your plants and current weather conditions. Deep, infrequent watering encourages plants to develop deep root systems, which makes them more resilient to drought. Invest in a soaker hose or drip irrigation system to deliver water directly to the soil, decreasing water waste.

Regular Monitoring and Adjustments

Successful garden care requires keen observation. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of pests, diseases, or nutrient deficiencies. Prompt intervention, whether through natural remedies or targeted treatments, can prevent issues from escalating. Adjust your care routine based on the evolving needs of your garden, acknowledging that each season brings unique challenges and opportunities.

Prune Throughout the Season

Who said pruning had to be a one-time thing? Lightly trim throughout the growing season to remove any dead or diseased growth. This works to promote air circulation and maintain the desired shape of your plants while contributing to the overall aesthetics of your landscape.

Revamp Your Garden with Niagara’s Landscaping Experts

Trust Tree Amigos as your go-to source for all things landscaping!

With over two decades of experience as a full-service design + build & property maintenance firm, Tree Amigos is well-equipped to create and maintain your personalized outdoor space.

With your vision and our expertise, we can shape, prune and nurture your garden into the floral masterpiece you’ve always dreamed of – request a quote today!