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. Be meticulous about cleaning up last year’s leaves and pruning debris.
Flowers: Dahlia tubers can be divided and planted in soilless mix in pots to give them a head start. Place them 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 put seeds in the garden, especially if it is still too wet. A soil ball will crumble in the hand when it is ready for planting. Raised beds will dry out sooner. When the ground can be worked, sow outdoors beets, carrots, turnips, chard and peas.
Trees and shrubs: Continue pruning summer and fall blooming shrubs. Study the plants’ growth habit before beginning. Take out the vertical “sprouts” first. Spray fruit trees with horticultural oil while they are dormant. Prune boxwood before new growth to keep it from getting too large.
Lawn: Continue cleanup, spot weed control and seeding. Test the soil — the pH should be 6.0-7.0. Apply lime as needed. A vigorous lawn will resist disease.
Houseplants: Move plants from hot sunny windows to more subdued light.
General: Despite the hard winter most plants will recover from freezing. If the crown under the soil is firm give them time, then cut back the damaged foliage. If the crown is mushy, it’s gone.
— Susan Henry, master gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester