- Inspect trees and shrubs for winter damage. Prune any broken branches.
- Tamp Heuchera and other frost-heaved perennials back into soil.
- Apply crabgrass preventer when forsythia blooms. Don't apply it if you plan to sow grass seed.
- Plant bareroot trees and shrubs when soil is workable and not soggy from spring rains.
- Trim ornamental grasses to 2 inches. For large clumps, use electric hedge trimmers.
- Direct-seed fast-growing edibles such as lettuce, scallion, and radish. Plant cole crops such as broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.
- Sharpen your mower blade, then mow liriope before new growth appears.
- Apply weed preventers such as corn gluten meal or Preen to flower beds.
- Remove and destroy bagworm egg cases on evergreens.
- Prune early blooming shrubs such as forsythia, star magnolia, or bridalwreath spirea.
- Plant warm-weather edibles after the last frost date: tomatoes, peppers, melons, cucumbers, and squash.
- Remove leaves and debris in ponds. Repot aquatic plants as needed. Start feeding fish.
- Spray fruit trees regularly but never during flowering to avoid harming bees.
- Allow lupine, dame's rocket, and foxglove to set seed to ensure crops of seedlings for next year's garden.
- Apply broadleaf weed preventer to lawns. Simply spot spray offenders if your lawn is relatively weed-free.
- Mulch planting areas, including vegetable gardens, to conserve soil moisture.
- Remove spent blooms from roses to encourage new flowers to form.
- Stop pinching garden mums by the Fourth.
- Water new additions to the garden -- including annuals --if rain is scarce.
- Raise your mower's blade height for the summer. Cut zoysia at 1 inch; cool-season grasses at 2.5 to 3 inches.
- Encourage flower bud formation on annuals by applying bloom-booster fertilizer biweekly.
- Cut raspberry canes to the ground after fruiting is finished.
- Allow tomatoes to ripen fully on the vine for the sweetest flavor.
- Plant seeds for fall salad greens. Heat-tolerant oak-leaf lettuces germinate in summer soil.
- Check out local gardens for plants that flower in late summer, such as black-eyed Susan, Joe-Pye weed, and ornamental grasses.
- Fertilize cool-season lawns by mid-month. This is the most important feeding of the year.
- Pick all tomatoes before night temperatures drop to 50 degrees.
- Aerate cool-season turf grasses. If you plan to overseed to thicken your lawn, aerate first.
- Cure winter squash -- butternut, turban, pumpkins -- that you intend to store. Cure in the sun for 10 days. Protect from frosts.
- Plant spring-flowering bulbs. To force bulbs for January blooms, place potted bulbs in an old refrigerator for 16 to 18 weeks.
- Remove leaves from lawns faithfully to prevent disease. Improve flavor in Brussels sprouts, kale, carrots, and leeks by harvesting after frost.
- Compost oak leaves separately to create acidic compost for acid-lovers such as azalea and rhododendron.
- Mow the lawn for the last time. Lower the cutting deck to 2 inches and use a bag to catch any weed seeds.
- Heap chopped leaves on vegetable gardens to insulate soil and encourage worm activity.
- Leave coneflower, aster, liatris, and anise hyssop seedheads in place to feed birds.
- Fill and hang bird feeders. Install a birdbath heater.
- Plant amaryllis and paperwhite narcissus bulbs.
- Prune evergreens, hollies, and berried sumac to deck the halls with live greens.
- Choose watershed-friendly deicing methods. Magnesium chloride is the least toxic choice, followed by calcium chloride.
- Allow soil of houseplants to dry out between waterings. Give plants a quarter turn weekly to ensure even growth.