logo_15_01_26
 
 
 
Find us on:
 
 
 
 

Plants for Your Spring Landscape

 
When you're selecting plants, it's not only important to choose varieties that will complement your home but also your existing landscape. Selecting plants that are suited to your climate is essential to creating a lush garden. So how do you know which plants will grow best where you live?

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a map of climate zones for plants, known as the Plant Hardiness Zone Map, in 1960. A plant's "hardiness" is determined by its ability to withstand conditions, such as low temperatures, that are not considered optimal for growth. Plants are assigned to the zones where they are most likely to thrive, so selecting plants assigned to your zone will help ensure your garden thrives too.

Climate zones for plants

 
Bright Tulips
 
The USDA climate zones for plants are determined by average minimum temperatures. When a plant is tagged for a particular zone, it should be able to survive the coldest weather that typically occurs in that zone.

There are 11 climate zones for plants in North America. In Zone 1, the coldest, average minimum temperatures dip below minus 50 degrees. In Zone 11, the warmest, average lows range from 30 to 40 degrees. Only zones 2 through 10 fall in the U.S. The United States' nine climate zones for plants are color coded on the hardiness map. Each zone is divided into two sub-zones: A and B. A, the colder of the two, is shaded with a lighter color than its warmer counterpart.

To figure out which climate zone you live in, simply locate your city on the USDA map. Then, use the key to identify your zone. You can also enter your zip code into an online zone finder to get a quick answer. Once you've determined which zone you live in, begin selecting plants tagged for your zone. The QUAD CITY AREA is ZONE 5.

In addition to taking climate effects on plants into consideration when you're planning your spring landscape, take time to prepare your soil for planting.
 
Gardening Zones
 
Spring Clean Up
 

Spring Yard Cleanup

Spring clean isn't just for the inside of your home. When winter winds down, make sure you also take time to tidy your outdoor space. Spring yard work begins with spring yard cleanup. Clearing debris and dead, overgrown vegetation will revive the appearance of your landscape and also make room for new greenery. Follow these spring lawn tips to help wake up your yard and prepare it for growing season.

Spring Lawn Cleanup Tips

Begin your spring lawn cleanup by picking up debris -- including leaves, rocks, twigs and branches -- from your yard. If there is a lot of foliage scattered on your lawn, use a leaf blower - or a rake to gently remove it. In addition to making your yard look neater and promoting new grass growth, cleaning debris will make it safer to operate your lawn mower. It also gives you a better view of your lawn, so you can assess winter damage.

Spring -Tips for your plants

Continue your spring yard cleanup by removing annual plants that didn't survive the winter. You should be able to pull these out by hand with little effort. In addition to creating space for other plants and making your landscape look healthier, pulling up dead annuals helps loosen the soil, which allows air, water and nutrients to circulate more easily.

Continue your spring yard cleanup by removing annual plants that didn't survive the winter. You should be able to pull these out by hand with little effort. In addition to creating space for other plants and making your landscape look healthier, pulling up dead annuals helps loosen the soil, which allows air, water and nutrients to circulate more easily.
 

Spring yard cleanup tips for your planting beds

The next step to your spring lawn cleanup is to straighten up your planting beds. Remove debris that accumulated during the winter, and pull any weeds. Gently rake back mulch to allow the sun to dry and warm the soil. (Be careful not to do this too early, as mulch serves as a protective barrier against late freezes.) The warmth will help kick-start spring growth.

To further encourage new growth and freshen the look of your landscape, turn the soil in your planting beds. First, check the moisture of your soil to see if it's ready to turn. Take a handful, tightly squeeze it, and drop it on the ground. If it doesn't crumble, it's still too wet, and mixing may damage its structure. If it crumbles, it's dry enough, and you can use a hand rake or spade to carefully loosen it around your plants.
 
Hands Holding Earth