Getting Ready for Spring in your Backyard Refuge
Our backyard refuges are home to many birds, bees and butterfly species. That’s why properly preparing for spring is essential. Here are some top tips to prepare you refuge for spring.
Pollinators and birds need undisturbed habitats to help them survive the winter. Leaving leaf litter, dried seed heads and grasses in place we can provide the cover and food they need.
When do we prune and what:
Grasses: Leave them undisturbed until mid-March. Wait for new growth to appear at the base before cutting them to the ground. If possible, leave a stand undisturbed all year.
Perennial Flowers: Clean up and cut perennial flowers back in March when temperatures start warming up. Divide fall blooming perennials like asters in spring when new growth starts to sprout, this only needs to be done every few years.
Trees and shrubs: Late winter to early spring is the time to prune fruit trees, shade trees and evergreens. Closely inspect them for dead and rubbing branches. Prune summer blooming shrubs like butterfly bush now but leave spring blooming shrubs like Algerita until after they bloom.
Spring is the time to compost and renew mulch! When the soil starts warming up add well aged compost to the fruit trees, grape vines, roses and some perennial flowers. If you use compost bins or piles, empty them now, sift through what’s finished and return the rest to the bin. Many native New Mexico plants rarely need compost but instead can benefit from a thick layer of much, add well aged mulch at least three inches deep around canopies and root zones.
After pruning and adding compost it’s important to deeply water all around the root zone. As the temperatures increase from Feb to March, increase watering from 2 to 3 times a month to once a week. Knowing your soil type will help determine how long and how often to water, check the moisture depth after watering to make sure it’s saturated the root zone.
Contact me for any questions. Rachel Chandler Owner of NM Nature By Design LLC