MORE TIPS: We left off with getting in shape to tackle your garden, in a list of tips from the Penn State Extension.

The next tip is to make sure your tools are ready, too.

“Take the time now to clean, sharpen, and oil your tools. Fill your wheelbarrow tires with air, sharpen your lawnmower blades, and service your mower.”

And take the time to do some pruning.

“At this time, prune shrubs that bloom on new growth, such as panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata). Roses also bloom on new growth — wait, however, to prune them until after their buds begin to swell to avoid damage from a late frost. Do not prune spring flowering shrubs like azalea, forsythia, and lilac or you will risk cutting off this year’s flower buds. Prune them after they have finished flowering.”

Clean out the garden beds, too.

“Clean the plant debris out of your beds: remove fallen branches, matted down leaves, and last year’s perennial foliage. Cut back any perennials you left standing over the winter including ornamental grasses. Make sure you clean up hiding places for slugs. Pull any early weeds — starting now will make weeding easier as the season progresses.”

And make sure to prepare the soil.

“Early spring is the best time to enrich the soil without disturbing the plants. If you have never had your soil analyzed or if it has been a couple of years since your last test, contact your Extension office for a soil test kit. This simple test will tell you if your planting beds and turf are lacking much-needed nutrients for healthy growth. Once you have added the suggested amendments, top dress your beds with an inch or two of compost.”

More tips will be shared soon.

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