Do some de-vine intervention. Check out the trees before all the leaves appear and deal with vines while you can see them. Consider cutting them off at the bottom rather than yanking them down out of the trees, which can cause damage. Do what you can do around the roots to discourage more growth, and we’ll talk in future weeks about things you can do and make with vines.
Clean up your ornamental grasses. If you righteously left them tall last fall so the birds could eat the seeds, now is the time to give them a crew cut. Cut them evenly across, just a hair above where green blades are starting to show. You can also divide these now. Pop up a clump with a shovel underneath; take an ax, saw, or sharp knife to hack them into four or six pieces; and replant them at the same level they came out of the ground.
Plant some fruit. Now is the time to be dividing other people’s raspberries because the new shoots are still small enough to transplant happily. OPP (other people’s plants) is a time-honored tradition, but ask permission anyway. Raspberries put out leaves the first year, and flowers and fruits the second, so if you are digging up smaller shoots, don’t expect fruit this time around. If you dig up plants that already have long stems, only prune back dead wood, no matter how annoying the thorny branches are. Trust me. I’m sitting here still pulling thorns out of my arms above the glove level (but I expect to see some fruit this year!).
Sally McCabe is associate director of community education at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (phsonline.org) and a co-owner of Cobblestone Krautery (www.cobblestonekrautery.com).