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Early spring cleanup

As I sit at my desk on another cold, rainy day, I find it difficult to imagine that spring will ever arrive. We are halfway through a long, dreary February, but in a few weeks, we will be pruning trees and shrubs and getting ready to divide perennials and set out new plants in the garden.

Every year, around the end of March, I realize that if I had used a little foresight and completed some of the less-than-fun chores, I would have more free time to spend on the enjoyable tasks of planting and nurturing the garden. Every year, I tell myself I am going to get a head start, and every year I fail, so don’t be like me.

A chilly winter day is a good time to repair retaining walls and reset stones bordering the driveway, parking area, or flower beds. Clear drainage ditches, too, so new plants won’t emerge to drown in standing water.

On the next warm, dry day, assess for winter damage to your trees, shrubs, and other plants. You can see which dead or diseased trees need to be remove...

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