• Water during winter drought periods. Trees and shrubs planted in the previous season may suffer if not kept watered, even in winter.
  • Check that gardening tools and equipment are in good repair—sharpen mower blades, sprayers, hand tools, saws, replace washers in garden hoses as needed, etc.
  • Check on supplies of materials such as fertilizer, herbicide, garden equipment, etc.


  • Prepare mowers, string trimmers, etc. for use. Clean air filters, new fuel, oil & filter change, perhaps tune-up, etc.
  • Finish pruning trees, shrubs, and vines before leaf-out in late March.
  • Most bare-rooted trees and shrubs should be planted in February or early March.
  • Burn grass clumps where appropriate (stay away from buildings).


  • Cut down and remove dead leaves, stems and seed heads from perennials and grasses.
  • Mulch where needed to reduce weeding and maintain moisture.
  • Plant trees, shrubs, vines, perennials and grasses through May. Recycle all plastic pots.
  • Divide and move perennials and grasses March through May. Divide ferns while leaves are short to minimize damage to leaves.   
  • If you have not done so by now, replace worn, punctured and broken parts on irrigation system before turning on in April.  


  • Begin planting native perennials and grasses.
  • Replace mulch which has been washed out with spring rains. Smooth mulch layer if it has been disturbed.
  • Prune winter-damaged branches on shrubs or trees that have not begun to grow by late April/early May (especially beautyberry).
  • In late April and early May cut back tall grasses, goldenrods, wild bergamot, sweet coneflower, garden phlox and asters by 50 percent to promote fuller and more compact growth.


  • Attend Shaw Nature Reserve Wildflower Market on Mothers Day weekend (Friday evening and Saturday)
  • Sweep or blow clean all walkways and curbs on a weekly basis.
  • Nutsedge become visible during this month. Hand pull weekly or apply Sedge-Hammer or Pro Sedge according to label. Don't forget to add spreader sticker to spray tank. 
  • Water new transplants and newly planted shrubs and trees unless rainfall is abundant.


  • Vigorous, unwanted limbs should be removed or shortened on new trees. Watch for forks in the main trunk and remove the least desirable leader as soon as it is noticed.
  • Cultivate and mulch. Mulching will reduce about 70 percent of the summer yard maintenance.
  • Continue to water new plantings deeply as needed. Apply at least one inch of water each time.
  • Softwood cuttings from new growth of many shrubs will root if propagated in a moist shady spot.


  • Expect some leaf fall, a normal reaction to summer drought, especially on red buckeye. Continue watering young plantings.
  • Trim back any groundcover overhanging curbs or sidewalks.
  • Remove diseased plant material (like deformed purple coneflower, blazing star and black-eyed Susan) by digging entire plant and disposing in trash. Composting will spread the virus.


  • Water all key planting areas thoroughly unless rainfall has been adequate.
  • Divide and replant spring blooming perennials.
  • Hedges and shrubs can be pruned, if necessary, about mid-August.


  • Attend Shaw Nature Reserve Wildflower Market in early September. 
  • Check plants for signs of water stress, nutrient deficiency or disease. Fertilize only when necessary.
  • Now through November is a good time to plant perennials and grasses mulched to a depth of 2–3 inches. For trees and shrubs be sure to mulch to a depth of 3–4 inches.
  • Divide and move perennials and grasses September through October. 
  • Mulch where needed to reduce weeding and maintain moisture and protect from winter freezing and drought.
  • September and October are best months to kill invasive bush honeysuckle. Cut and spray stumps with 10 percent glyphosate. Properly dispose of cuttings if they contain berries to prevent spreading the seeds and reinfesting the newly cleared area.


  • Scout property for invasive bush honeysuckle. Leaves are bright yellow with red berries in October.
  • Mulch where needed to reduce weeding and maintain moisture and protect from winter freezing and drought.
  • Remove tree leaves and litter from parking lots and turf areas or mow with mulching mower.
  • Trim back any groundcover overhanging curbs or sidewalks.
  • Keep dead leaves, stems and seed heads on perennials and grasses throughout winter to provide food and shelter for birds and overwintering insects.
  • Clean out bluebird and other bird houses in fall or winter.


  • Continue to seek out and remove invasive species. More details
  • Blow or rake tree leaves from beds onto lawn and mow. Rake up ground leaves, compost and use the following season.
  • Clean tree leaves and debris out gutters after tree leaves have fallen.
  • Winterize hoses and outside water sources. Clean out rain barrels. Clean and/or remove water feature pumps.
  • November 15 to March 15 is the best time to prune most trees and shrubs. Remove conflicting and crowded branches, dead limbs, double-leaders and unsightly branches.
  • Add fuel stabilizer to engines before winter storage. Drain and store water hoses. Clean up all tools.
  • Good time to make improvements to hardscapes (pavers, walls, stonework, woodwork, etc.)
  • Order new trees from the Missouri Department of Conservation on their tree seedling orders website.


  • Review the year’s schedule and make plans for next year’s improvements.
  • Continue pruning trees and shrubs. Prune any tree branches in parking lots and sidewalks that interfere with public safety.
  • Provide cover for wildlife. Leave plant stalks and seed heads standing. Create brush piles. Leave deadwood for insects to overwinter.
  • Build an insect hotel. Instructions