Tips & Advice


Late Winter/Early Spring (Jan–Early April)

Get together seed, spring and summer bulb lists and other requirements (i.e., equipment for the upcoming growing season) and order early for best selection and availability from suppliers

Prune fruit trees (late Feb/early Mar)

Begin seedlings inside (check the seed package for weeks before the threat of frost is passed) NOTE: The usual frost free date in the 1000 Islands area varies to as early as May 15th near the St.Lawrence river and Lake Ontario to May 24th inland.

Begin uncovering winter protection from evergreens, roses, etc. as the temperature warms up to above zero during the day. This is also the time to begin reapplying any anti-dessicant sprays that may have been used instead of burlap.

Apply lime sulphur and dormant oil to trees and shrubs susceptible to overwintering insects. This must dry on and not freeze on to be effective.

Prune to shape and control height and size any of your summer flowering shrubs.

Remove remaining debris from perennial beds as the snow and thawing allows.

Begin to plan a lawn care program by identifying the requirements for your lawn once the snow begins disappear; beginning with familiarizing yourself with any changes in Provincial legislation pertaining to lawn care, followed by aeration, rolling, fertilization, overseeding etc

Late Spring/Early Summer (Late April–June)

Prune early spring flowering shrubs once the flowers have finished, such as on Bridalwreath spirea, lilacs, and forsythia, to size and shape desired.

NOTE: If the temperature in May has been up and down and cooler than normal over all, the soil temperature will be behind as well. So you may notice that some plants and trees seem behind – or worse – not alive, such as perennial hibiscus, rose of sharon, sunburst locusts. Give them another couple of weeks before writing them off to winter kill.

Fertilize your flower beds with a granular fertilizer or by working compost or manure into the areas where you can.

Continue with a lawn care program by identifying the requirements or your lawn. Continue overseeding, but recognize that if you plan on using a weed control fertilizer you’ll need to understand how the fertilizer works specifically, so that you know when to apply it without negating the efforts of your overseeding. Fertilizers containing Corn Gluten work as pre-emergent weed killers but will also prevent grass seed from germinating. Carefully read the directions and application times for synthetically produced fertilizers with chemical weed and feed properties as the conditions required are specific (median temperatures of 15 degrees Celsius, including overnight, and no rainfall or watering for 48hrs after application). Be sure to familiarize yourself with changes in Provincial legislation with regards to chemical applications for weed control.

Weeding your gardens frequently and diligently now, before you mulch your beds, will greatly reduce the amount of weed pressure you’ll deal with later.

Water only as needed – enough to sustain life in periods of extreme drought otherwise shorter amounts of time and more frequently. This is more effective and useful to your garden than longer periods and reduces waste. Use soaker hoses whenever you can as they are an effective, efficient, and water-conserving means to get water to the plant root zones.

Mulch gardens to assist in weed control and moisture management.

Deadhead seed pods (flower head) from spring bulbs to assist the plant in putting reserves into bulb itself. As foliage allows, remove and plant other summer bulbs such as gladiolus, dahlias, canna lilies, etc., or fill spaces with more annuals.

Remember too as the summer wears on to take time to sit and relax in areas in your garden to enjoy the fruits of your labour and the sights, smells, and sounds it provides. Take pride in your work and its rewards. Enjoy an iced tea, invite a friend to share a glass of wine or watch a sunset.

Contact Thornbusch Landscaping for any matters that you can not (or choose not to) perform yourself, or email us any questions you have and we’ll answer to the best of our abilities.

Early Fall (September–November)

If there’s been a lack of moisture to date, water trees and shrubs as much as possible to allow the roots store up moisture and create food reserves for the coming period of dormancy.

Overseed and start any new turf areas as temperature and natural rainfall should be at its optimum.

Begin dividing perennials and rearrange the gardens to suit personal tastes and aesthetics.

It’s a great time to visit your local independent Garden Centre and shop for fall mums, fall bulbs, end of season sales/specials and additional materials.

Get together seed lists and requirements for the upcoming growing season.

Make notes on what you want to change for next year or projects and ideas that you which to research over the winter months.

Move tender plants inside and remove summer bulbs such as Gladiolas, Dahlias, Cannas, etc. storing them in a cool dry place.

Late Fall (Late October–Early November)

Cut the grass one last time at a low height of 2-2 1/2 inches to aid in the prevention of snow mold and other winter turf diseases.

Wrap shrubs that require winter protection.

Spray an antidessicant emulsion to reduce winter transpiration of evergreen trees and shrubs.

Protect roses with soil, rose cones, etc.

Apply layers of mulch as an added protective layer wherever possible.

Catch up on the new trends through reading and listening to various call-in programs or by attending a local horticultural society meeting.

Make sure to enjoy many good books and magazines and dream about the coming spring.

Make plans to attend the largest Consumer Horticultural show in Canada, CANADA BLOOMS in March at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto.

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