With spring well on its way, it’s the perfect time to begin thinking about your lawn and garden. The ideal planting season across the Triangle is early April through the end of October, thanks to the warm yet moist growing climate of the Piedmont region. For the most success, keep in mind the Raleigh-Durham area is in planting zone 7b, which has been determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture based upon the Triangle’s average annual minimum winter temperature.
If you’re ready to put a little elbow grease into making your yard beautiful, the following recommendations will help you plan an outdoor space you’ll love.
Seed your grass in spring and fall
If you have spaces where your grass needs a little extra TLC, you can seed your lawn in both spring and fall to ensure grass can root before the summer heat hits. The Triangle’s most common grasses are Bermuda, centipede, St. Augustine, and zoysia grasses. All but St. Augustine grass, which requires the planting of “plugs,” can be easily seeded in those cooler spring and fall months. These grasses are easy to maintain, leaving you with a lush yet durable yard. Visit your favorite local garden shop for a blend that will root well when you’re ready.
Prep your garden for spring and summer
Vegetable gardens grow beautifully in the Triangle. Because winter frosts typically end in early April, you can start planting seeds for most vegetables in March and April for a fruitful garden. Cole crops like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are cool weather plants and will do best in early spring and fall. Lettuce, kale, and spinach similarly do well in the spring and fall. Meanwhile, choose late April or early May to plant such vegetables as tomatoes, corn, cucumber, squash, bell peppers, and beans. Arugula, hot peppers, sweet peppers, and turnips love the climate of Zone 7. You’ll also want to start herbs in March or April for a long summer filled with bright, flavor-filled meals.
Plant trees and shrubs in the fall
Wait until fall to plant trees and shrubs in the Triangle to ensure they do their best. Cooler air and soil temperatures are necessary for encouraging root growth and reducing the stress you place on a newly-planted tree or shrub. By the following summer, your fall tree and shrub starts will have developed larger root systems and will flourish more readily. If you’re looking to add fruit trees to your yard, look for varieties like the Bing cherry, Fuji and Granny Smith apple, Parker pear, Scout apricot, or nearly any variety of mulberry and elderberry trees, which do well in a Zone 7 climate. Choosing native North Carolina shrubs like Mountain Laurel, Hydrangeas, Azaleas, and Honeycup will ensure your yard blooms beautifully each year. Likewise, white oak, red maple, dogwood, and redbud trees are native trees that will flourish here.
Use springtime to add flowers and plants to your yard
Whether you’re looking for annual flowers that bloom one season or perennials that come back year after year, you need to get seeds and starts in the ground by May. Flowering plants are great for the region’s long, hot summers. Annuals do well in the Triangle, and flowers like Marigolds, Cosmos, Snapdragons, Sweet Pea, and Petunias, bloom beautifully. Despite being annuals, these flowers often drop seeds that help them return each year. Perennials like Black-eyed Susan, hostas, chrysanthemum, salvia, Beebalm, daisies, columbines, and peony will come back each year and are great for attracting bees butterflies, and hummingbirds.
Do you have a garden favorite that does well at your home? Feel free to share your secrets with us in the comments below.
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