New England

May, 2005
Regional Report

Leave Root Ball Intact

When you transplant annual flowers and veggies, don't try to loosen the root balls. With such a small root mass, a plant is easily set back if many roots are damaged, and with only a summer in which to grow, you want these plants to hit the ground running. With trees and shrubs, it's a different matter because they have a much longer time to rejuvenate their root systems.

Edge Garden Beds

If you don't have an edging material around the borders of your garden beds, use a flat spade to shave off clumps of sod to delineate the edges. You'll probably need to do this a couple of times, but if you don't you'll be fighting encroaching grass all summer.

Seeding Bare Spots in Lawn

Before reseeding bare spots in the lawn, spread 1 to 2 inches of compost over the areas and firm it down. Then sow grass seed. Sprinkle a thin layer of compost on top of the seed and keep it moist. If you have pets, encircle the spots with stakes and tie string around them to keep pets off.

Make a Nursery Bed

If you like to rescue forlorn plants and nurse them back to health, or start perennials from seed that need a couple of years to reach good size, you need a nursery bed. This is an area where you can pamper plants until they are ready to join the perennial or shrub border. A section of the vegetable garden is a good possible spot since the soil tends to be well enriched, and you can easily keep a close eye on the plants. With a nursery bed, you'll also have a place to keep those bargain sale plants until your new beds are dug!

Divide Ground Covers

Ground covers such as vinca, pachysandra, and ivy can be divided and transplanted now to create new beds or enlarge existing ones. On a cloudy, cool day, use a sharp shovel or trowel to separate offshoots from mother plants and transplant them into a shady new location. Keep them well watered.

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