It shouldn’t come as a surprise when visiting the “stinky” department at Van Wilgens that some of our team LOVE fertilizer! We “Fertilize, Mulch and Preen” which rhymes with a “1-2-3 routine”

We love fertilizer because it can be so helpful to our plants and the environment; veggie gardens will give you a much greater yield; annuals will push out more bloom; trees will establish deeper root systems, and shrubs will be less prone to disease.

Should I Fertilize?
In a nutshell…Yes!

What kind of Fertilizer do I need?
There is a fertilizer for every seed, every plant, and for every time of the year, so there are different categories of fertilizers:

Tone bags

Mulching is considered one of the most beneficial things you can do for your soil and your plants. It is a vital step in keeping your plants healthy and thriving. A layer of mulch will help prevent the germination of many weed seeds, reducing the need for cultivation or use of herbicides. Over time, mulches made from organic materials break down and increase your soil’s structure and fertility. Mulches help moderate the soil temperature and retain moisture during dry weather, reducing the need for watering. Mulch also protects the soil from the impact of raindrops that can cause crusting.

Nope, this isn’t how bird’s keep their feather neat, it’s a granular pre-emergent put down after mulching, in early Spring, to prevent weed seeds from germinating

Things are uncertain right now and your routine has likely been upended, but one thing that is consistent is the need to get outside and the importance of spring cleaning this time of year!

That need is never more important than in your yard. This is the time to get some fresh air while you clean up, remove leaf debris and rake out the clutter from your garden.

It’s important as you cut back your ornamental grasses and prune and cut back your roses and perennials, make sure to spread a nice layer of mulch. For plant health, the best practice is to lay a three-inch-thick layer of woody mulch. Anything that is bark-based will do.

This is also the time to fertilize as well, and I’ll have more advice on that next week.

Applying Preen is also beneficial right now. The pre-emergent will prevent weeds from coming up and reduce the amount of maintenance you need to do throughout the year. If you really want to enter the green thumb zone, add compost to your beds before you lay down mulch, which will add some nice organic matter into the soil. For those of you who are at home and would rather not come into the Garden Center right now, we deliver mulch in bulk, which you can pay for over the phone or online. We’ll drop it off in your driveway and you don’t even need to come outside. Please, though, do get outside and enjoy the changing season and freshen up your landscape!


Is spring coming early this year?

Am I jumping the gun by changing the words to an old rhyme?! It doesn’t quite feel like I am. We have had a mild winter and the warm weather makes me feel like spring is already here. What does this mean? It means, all of us gardeners and people who just like to be outdoors, don’t have to chomp at the bit anymore. Let’s get going. Let’s open up those garden sheds and start shaking those tools up a bit. There is so much fun work to be done!

Where to begin…? Which tool to start with…? I know….

*Rake: Get the rake out and start raking. Clean out those garden beds and clean up that lawn. Start with a nice, clean slate.

*Cultivator: Use this sharp pronged tool to help you pull out some of those unwanted weeds that are sprouting up. The sooner the better.

*Shovel: Dig up a few soil samples from your lawn and garden and bring them in for me to test the pH level. The proper pH level is key for a successful lawn, veggie garden, and perennial bed.

What products do I need now…?

*Preen: After you spend all that time raking up the garden beds, apply Preen to help keep those pesky weeds at bay all season long. Don’t do all that hard work for nothing!

*Lime: The snow has melted and the lawn & veggie garden needs some sweetening up. It takes a while to raise the pH of your soil, so get going now. Please.

*Fertilizer: Get ready. Lawns, trees, and shrubs can wait a little bit longer but as soon as those yellow Forsythias start to pop, it is time. Usually, the Forsythia start showing off in April but I have a hunch they will start to show yellow earlier than that.

I don’t want you to feel rushed. I just want you to be prepared. If you need a little inspiration, come to Van Wilgen’s and get yourself a little treat. We have happy pansy faces of every color and they can handle the temperatures down to 28 degrees. If they don’t get you in the mood for spring, I do not know what will.

Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help!

Your Shopping List: Preen, Fast Acting Lime by Encap, and Espoma’s Plant Tone