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Frequently asked questions

When can we start cleaning the garden?

  • Jardin botanique

In spring, once the soil is dry enough, you can clean up your flowerbeds. But be careful – beware of trampling the grass too early in the season and don’t step on wet soil.

Pick up waste and prune away any dead branches. Although not essential, you can also push back any perennial foliage kept as a winter decorative feature. If you used unshredded leaves for mulch, it is best to remove them if the mulch has become thick and compact. You can then put it in the compost.  Otherwise, you can leave mulch in place; just rake it over slightly to aerate it. Remember, though, to watch out for new shoots that are fragile!

You may need to clean conifer foliage and shrub branches with running water to remove dirt accumulated over the winter. This is especially important for plants exposed to salt spray from the road. On major roads, slush containing salt is sprayed by passing vehicles, and the wind may carry fine droplets saturated with mineral salts that can damage the buds and foliage of many types of plants.

Soil mixtures used in flower boxes and containers lose their nutrients quickly, so it is a good idea to change the potting soil every year. Use the old potting soil to amend your flower beds or to top-dress part of your lawn. Some gardeners prefer to amend the old potting soil. In that case, replace the soil near the surface with compost and stir it into the remaining potting soil. Any soil mixtures that are infested with parasites that overwinter in the soil must be discarded.

When the buds on your shrubs start to swell is a good time to remove any dead branches, because they are easy to distinguish from the live ones. Take the opportunity to cut off any diseased stems and those that have been broken or damaged during the winter.

Many shrubs and rosebushes should also be pruned in early spring. But that’s another story...

Want to know more about pruning trees, shrubs, fruit trees or rosebushes? Read our sections on ornamental trees and shrubs pruning, roses pruning and fruit trees pruning.

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