As the weather starts to show signs of spring we tend to get anxious about getting out in our lawns and gardens, cleaning up after the long winter. There are several things you can get started on in the early spring months of March and April. 

Prune trees and shrubs - Pruning during the dormant season is common practice for many trees. Always check specific care instructions for the type of tree or shrub before pruning. Late winter and early spring is a good time for pruning mid to late summer blooming trees and shrubs. Spring flowering trees and shrubs should be pruned after bloom time when flowers fade. 

Cut back any dead foliage left on your perennials and ornamental grasses - It is always nice to have some dried perennials in the garden for added interest and curb appeal during the winter, however, cutting it back before the new growth makes for a more pleasing look as your garden starts to grow.

Lift and divide well-established perennials that are overcrowded - Early spring, while the temperatures are still cool but the soil is starting to warm, is a great time to transplant many summer blooming perennials. This allows time for the roots to become established before the heavy growth time. Remember to keep new transplants well watered.

Test your garden soil - Testing is recommended at least every few years to maintain optimal growing conditions. This is best done in the spring so any correcting can be done before planting time. Adding compost to your soil is never a bad thing but knowing the nutrient and pH level will help you amend your soil properly. A professional lab test will give you a more complete analysis of your soil condition but there are a variety of home DIY test kits, pH test meters, and home remedy tests such as the vinegar and baking soda test you can do yourself. A quick internet search will provide you with a multitude of options.

Remember to raise the mower blade for that first Spring cutting - It is best to keep the blade higher for the first cutting so you don't shock the new growing lawn. You can then lower the blade a little at each cutting until you reach the level you like. Also, make sure your blade is clean and sharp and the mower is properly maintained, ready for the new mowing season. Spring is also a good time for seeding any areas that are thin or bare and applying fertilizer if you wish.