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Spring has officially arrived in the Red River Valley and planting season is finally underway!  In addition to your new plants you are adding to your garden or landscape, perennials may be finally returning to the scene!  Here are FOUR tips and tricks to make sure you are giving your landscape the best care this season! 

  1. How to tell if your perennials or dead or still dormant. 

Not all perennials come up at the same time, which can be confusing and sometimes frustrating. They can also look a little lifeless at the beginning of spring. To check if they have died off during the winter or are still sleeping, it all depends on the plant!  

  • Shrubs: Give your shrubs the “thumbnail test” by scratching twigs.  If the twig is alive, it will have a thin green layer, or the cambium, between the bark and the inner white wood.  If this is missing or is brown, the shrub is likely dead. 
  • Evergreens: Check for moist, plump buds at the tip of the twigs.  You can tell the tree may be dead if buds are dry and twigs are brittle.
  • Perennial Flowers: Gently brush away the soil at the plants crown.  You should see buds that look as though they are soon-to-emerge.  If you do not see any bulbs, lightly squish the crown tissue.  If the plant is firm, keep waiting, but if it is soft or rotten, it is most likely dead. 
  • How to divide perennials – Spring is the time to do it! 

Overcrowded plants are constantly competing for nutrients and water, by dividing and moving your perennials, you reduce this struggle and ultimately stimulate new growth and blooming! Here are some important tips to remember when dividing perennials:  Divide them on a cloudy day.  If you choose a hot and sunny day, your plants can dry out. Also, water your soil the night before to ensure that the soil is not too dry. 

How to divide perennials: 

  • Dig up the parent plant.
  • Carefully lift the plant out of the ground and gently eliminate any loose dirt around the roots. 
  • Separate the plant into smaller sections by gently pulling or teasing the roots apart with your hands.
  • Ensure that every small section has at least three shoots and a good supply of roots. 
  • Replant each division and make sure to keep them moist. 
  • Pruning for shaping and form on your trees and shrubs.

By pruning your trees and shrubs you can greatly enhance your landscape and truly bring it to the next level.  Pruning is the measured removal of parts, such as branches, stems, and flowers) from plants.  This technique helps manage the growth and structure of trees and shrubs, removes dead or diseased branches, and encourages the development of flowers, fruit, and new foliage.  

Here is a good rule of thumb of what to prune in your garden: LESS IS MORE! 

  • Dying, Diseased, Dead, or Broken Branches
  • Branches that Cross or Grow Inward or Downward
  • Water Sprouts and Suckers 
  • Watch for late spring frost!

We are always hoping for warm weather, especially in May, but sometimes winter likes to take one more visit to the Fargo-Moorhead when we least expect it!  Make sure you are protecting your perennials from frost this spring with these tips: 

  • Watch the weather forecast: Don’t be fooled by warmer spring days, night temperatures can still quickly drop.  Make sure to watch for frost warning, watches, or advisories. 
  • Water plants well before a frost: Moist soil actually holds up to four times more heat than dry soil!  It also conducts heat to the surface, thus keeping the air around the base of the plant about 5 degrees warmer. 
  • Cover plants: If there is frost in the forecast, cover your newly planted perennials, tender plants, or anything with sensitive new growth or flower buds. We recommend using woven fabrics since they are proven to be better insulators that plastic or paper. 

Whether you need a tree for your yard or a planter for your patio, S & S Landscape is here to help this spring!  Stop into our garden center and talk with our nursery manager about any questions, concerns, or problems you are having with your garden this season!  From plants to pests, we are here to help you find a solution! Contact S & S Landscaping for more information on our nursery today at 📞(701) 235-1515!