Perennials: Prune roses when buds break. Begin monthly fertilization with rose food. Roses need full sun, good drainage and enough space for ample air circulation and regular watering (1 to 2 inches a week).
Flowers: Dahlias can be divided and planted in soilless mix in pots to get a head start. Place in a sunny window or under grow lights until all danger of frost has passed. Water when new growth appears.
Vegetables: Do not be in a hurry to seed the garden this year. A ball of soil will crumble in your hand when it is ready for planting. When the ground can be worked, sow outdoors: beets, carrots, turnips, swiss chard, peas.
Trees and shrubs: Continue pruning summer and fall blooming shrubs. Use safety precautions: wear eye protection, stay on the ground, use a small ladder only when necessary. Study the plant’s growth habit before beginning. Take out the vertical sprouts first. Spray fruit trees with horticultural oil while they are dormant. Check hemlocks for wooly adelgid.
Lawn: Continue cleanup, weed control and seeding. Test the soil — the pH should be 6.0 to 7.0. Apply lime as needed. A vigorous lawn will resist disease.
Houseplants: Move plants from hot sunny windows to more subdued light.
General: Turn the compost pile to reveal your black gold for gardeners.