Because I KNOW you remember my blog from October 13, 2015 about how it’s ok to be a lazy gardener and it’s better for your gardens to leave them messy over the Winter; or Claire’s blog from October 28, 2016 about leaving your flower beds and other landscaping in place over the Winter – because you so diligently followed our advice, you hopefully have fantastically messy gardens right now. Right? Right.
I know you are itching to get out there to clean things up and make sense of the mess. I get it. It’s human nature. But if you can, hold off just a little longer on your Spring cleanup.
Because you left all that good organic material in your gardens over the winter, a lot of critters are hanging out in there utilizing it for shelter from the cold nights. They are using dried standing materials from plants to cling to and nest in. And leaf litter – leaf litter is the BOMB to scores of beneficial insects such as ladybugs and damsel bugs. And step back from the mulch as insects and pollinators who overwinter in soil may be blocked from emerging if you cover them with mulch too soon. Some of these bees don’t emerge until late May so the longer you can wait, the better. Here are a few more tips on Spring gardening done right!
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation has some guidance for the timing of your Spring cleanup. Of course this will vary based on where you live, but my general rule of thumb is to do my Spring cleanup between Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) and Mother’s Day (second Sunday in May). I completely skip the month of April maybe mowing my grass once in that time.
So before you bust out the rake, shovel and spade - take a deep breath and say - I'm ok with the mess for a couple more weeks. Go hang out with a friend, watch April give birth to that giraffe again, take a bike ride, binge watch some Netflix - just wait, a little longer before you clean up that garden.
Happy Spring everyone!
Blog author: Amy Roskilly, Conservation Education Specialist