Garden Planning

Vincent Drzewucki, Jr.

Who better to ask about garden planning than a Horticultural Specialist? LoveToKnow found Vincent Drzewucki, Jr., the Horticultural Information and Marketing Specialist at Hicks Nurseries in Westbury. In addition to his 21 years in the nursery business, he is also a New York State Nursery/Landscape Association Certified Nursery Professional (CNP) and adjunct professor at SUNY Farmingdale.

Garden Planning for the Coming of Spring

As the warmer days of spring begin to bud into the final days of winter, garden planning once again becomes the focus. LoveToKnow interviewed Vinnie to discover some important tips to ensure your garden's evolution into spring growth is a successful one.

Interview with Vincent Drzewucki, Jr.

As the end of winter arrives, what are the three main chores gardeners should tackle in their yards?

Vinnie Drzewucki:

  1. Organize the Tool Shed - Inventory, clean, tune-up, sharpen and replace broken or worn out tools. Now is the time to beat the spring rush at the mower shop and garden center to get power equipment tuned up, lawnmower blades and cutting tools sharpened, and for finding the best selection of new tools, fertilizers, mulches and other garden supplies.
  2. Prune -Late winter is the ideal time for pruning trees, especially fruit trees, and doing severe pruning on shrubs to reduce the size of overgrown shrubs and to rejuvenate them.
  3. Plan and Dream - On the next warm sunny day take a tour of your garden and begin making a wish list of what you'd like to accomplish this year in your garden and of things to do when the weather breaks. Go to the library and the bookstore, or go online. Get ideas from catalogs, books, magazines and websites. Draw or sketch on paper with pencil (so you can easily move things around with the eraser) new layouts, plants and ideas for the upcoming season.

What pre-planning do you advise for vegetable gardeners?

Vinnie Drzewucki: To get the most out of your vegetable garden, prepare the soil. Have a soil test done now to determine pH, nutrient levels, organic matter content and soil texture. Your local Cooperative Extension office, garden center or botanic garden can help you with soil testing. Based upon the results, add whatever soil amendments are advised and work them into the soil a few weeks before planting.

Should gardeners do anything specific to encourage an abundance of spring flowers?

Vinnie Drzewucki: Start planning now for next spring. In the fall, plant spring flower bulbs such as daffodil, tulips, crocus, hyacinths and other hardy spring flowering bulbs for lots of spring color. Fall-planted pansies (often called Winter Pansies) will ensure lots of spring color too.

When is the best time to begin lawn maintenance again?

Vinnie Drzewucki: On the first comfortable warm day of spring, as long as the ground is not wet or muddy, get out there a rake up leaves, twigs and any other debris that may have accumulated on the lawn over the winter. Mow as soon as grass begins growing and needs it. Check soil pH in spring and apply lime if pH is below 6.2. Apply crabgrass preventer around the time forsythia shrubs are in bloom but hold off on fertilizer and broadleaf weed killers until it's warmer and night temperatures are consistently higher than 50 F.

What advice can you offer about watering your yard and plants?

Vinnie Drzewucki: Only water when needed -- when natural rainfall is 1 inch or less per week or if soil is very dry. Deep, infrequent watering is better than every day sprinkling. Excessive sprinkling encourages pest problems, and root and stem rots. For the average garden a good deep watering (1 to 2 inches of water) applied once or twice a week is all that's needed and none if rainfall is abundant.

What basic advice can you offer gardeners as they eagerly await the coming of spring?

Vinnie Drzewucki: Consider adding comfortable chairs, tables, loungers or even a hammock or two to your garden to get even more enjoyment out of it this year. Happy Gardening!

More about Vincent Drzewucki

Vinnie is the author of two books:

More about Hicks Nursery can be found at:

Garden Planning