Preparing Your Garden For Spring

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While driving around lately, you may have noticed the German road crews giving anything and everything a crew cut. They have all sorts of cool connectors that go on their work vehicles that trim, cut and shave off just about any type of vegetation in its path. There are even trimmers that rotate around the road markers like magic while the maintenance truck cruises next to it. You should take this as a sign it is time to get your own bushes, grass and garden areas ready for spring.

Generally, when it comes to bushes and hedges, you should not be afraid of cutting off too much (better to cut off too much than too little). In a lush growing area like Germany, where moisture is aplenty, if you are not aggressively cutting back, you can quickly get overrun. Weeding and clearing dead leaves is also a must. Here are five tips to help you get your garden in shape.

  • Get rid of the dead perennial leaves. Clearing away the foliage that is still there, promotes growth to flowers and grass. If any perennials have pushed their way up out of the ground due to the recent frost, push them back in so they will prosper.
  • Pull those weeds. Probably the least favorite job to do for everyone, weed pulling can get rid of those nasty crit- ters that choke out the development of all the beautiful plants you actu- ally want to grow. Pulling them now will make the work easier because the ground is soft from the winter.
  • Prune shrubs that flower. Now is the time to prune shrubs that bloom late in the summer. Shrubs have flowers that bloom from wood, so if you prune them now, you will not risk cutting off the buds.
  • Don’t forget to fertilize. Now that the ground is fully thawed (we hope!), spread fertilizers around shrubs, trees and perenni- als. Be careful when using weedkillers later in the season as the EU has laws regulating what can be used. If you PCSed over with products purchased in the U.S., be sure to see if they are approved for use in Germany.
  • Look for broken limbs and branches. Winter storms can result in trees and bushes that have broken or splintered due to high winds, snow, ice, rain and anything else the German winters can throw at you. Cut off just before the broken area to help the veg- etation regrow. If your evergreens suffered any dead ends from winter, cut off the tips.

Cover photo by Yuganov Konstantin /

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