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We are excited to provide you with regular updates and tips on garden care and planning. Please visit us regularly to find new tips and remember to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

CT Invasive Plants

Invasive plants are non-native species that show a tendency to spread out of control. Invasive species are harmful to our natural resources (fish, wildlife, plants and overall ecosystem health) because they disrupt natural communities and ecological processes.

Invasive plant species species spread quickly and can displace native plants, prevent native plant growth, and create monocultures.  Invasive plants cause biological pollution by reducing plant species diversity.

What causes invasive?  Invasive species are primarily spread by human activities, often unintentionally.  People, and the goods we use, travel around the world very quickly, and they often carry uninvited species with them.  Ships can carry aquatic organisms in their ballast water, while small boats may carry them on their propellers.

Click here for a list of the CT Invasive Plants.

Spring garden preparation Tips:

A new growing season is under way. Are you ready? Here’s a to-do list to get you started.

Pull those weeds. Whether you’re seeing left-over weeds from last year or new ones that sprouted in cool weather, eliminate them now when the ground’s still soft from winter. They’ll come out easier than in hard, dry summer soil. Especially remove them before they have a chance to grow and deeply root, and especially pull them before they have a chance to go to seed.

Prune the summer-blooming flowering shrubs. End of winter to early spring is prime time to prune shrubs that flower from late June through fall. All of these bloom on wood that grows in the current season, so there’s no danger of cutting off flower buds that formed last year. Wait until right after flowering to prune spring-blooming shrubs.

Fertilize the beds. Once the ground thaws, apply granular fertilizer around the trees, shrubs and perennials. Match the particular product to the plant type and to any particular nutrient needs spelled out by a soil test.

Inspect trees and shrubs for winter damage. Prune off any broken, dead or storm-damaged branches. Also snip the tips off of any evergreens that have suffered tip die backs from winter’s cold.

Get rid of dead perennial leaves. If you didn’t already cut back your frost-killed perennial flowers last fall, rake or clip off that browned foliage now. It’ll clear the way for this year’s new growth, which will be pushing up shortly. If you notice that any perennials have worked their way partly out of the ground due to winter freezing and thawing, tamp them back down so the roots aren’t exposed. Water them and add an inch or two of mulch around them.

Divide perennials. Right before new growth begins is an ideal time to dig and divide most perennial flowers that are growing beyond where you’d like them. Replant divided clumps ASAP, and water them well in their new home. Or give away pieces or compost any excess. The exception is early-season perennials that already are blooming – or that are in bud and ready to bloom soon. These are best divided after bloom or in early fall.

Rake matted leaves. Leaves that have blown under and around trees, shrubs and perennials can be left in place and mulched over, assuming they’re in modest quantities. No need to remove those. However, matted leaves should be raked or blown off of the lawn and out of evergreen ground cover beds so these green plants can take in sunlight. Patch any bare spots in the lawn with grass seed.

Remove winter protection. As the threat of frost wanes, remove burlap barriers, wraps and other protective material from around landscape plants that needed the extra winter protection. Also remove any staking from new trees if they’ve been in the ground for more than a year.

Problem prevention. Apply lawn food and a weed preventer on the garden beds. A good cue for the former is when the dandelions are blooming, and a good cue for the latter is when forsythia bushes are in full bloom.

Edge beds. Whether you use a long-handled, people-powered edging tool or power edger, end of winter is a good time to cut sharp edges along all garden beds. This not only neatens the landscape, it creates a “lip” to contain mulch that can be applied once the soil warms consistently for the season.

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