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Scranton Tomorrow Offers Tips and Call for Spring Clean-Up Volunteers

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Ready. Set. Plant!


The upcoming official start of spring inspires beautification efforts in public space and at home.

Ready to emerge from your wintry cocoon? We’re with you! With spring just around the corner (officially beginning March 20), our Safe, Clean & Green Committee members are trading snow boots for work boots. We’re preparing for a new season of plantings and beautification efforts in the Downtown Scranton Business District.

We invite volunteers to join us on Sunday, March 28, from noon to 2 p.m. for our first clean-up of the season. The group will meet at Scranton Tomorrow’s office at 307 Linden Street, Downtown Scranton, at noon. Just bring your work gloves. Wear your mask. And we’ll provide all the tools needed to make our Downtown streets and sidewalks shine.


Steve Ward — Master Gardener / Team Leader of Scranton Tomorrow’s Safe, Clean & Green Committee


The secret to keeping your town Safe, Clean & Green – start at home.

Let’s get outside, soak up some sunshine, and spruce up our own backyards. Steve Ward, Master Gardener and Team Leader of Scranton Tomorrow’s Safe, Clean & Green Committee, knows a thing or two about getting that post-winter yard back into spring shape.

Check out his helpful tips below on how to host a successful clean-up at home.



Step 1 — Fill your shed with the right tools for the job.

Maintaining the landscape at home is hard work, no matter how you look at it. Using the right tools will help you work more efficiently, and reduce your level of fatigue. Look for tools that are balanced between effectiveness and weight. Take your time when shopping, and get a feel for each item. If a tool feels too bulky and awkward in your hands, find one that’s more comfortable.

Not sure which tools you need? Don’t worry. You don’t have to buy out the local home improvement store. These 5 tools will help get you started: a steel rake, hoe, hand trowel, spading fork, and a long-handled spade. These items will help you tackle everything from digging and planting, to adding fertilizer, and moving shrubs.



Step 2 — Repair damage from winter storms.

We had record amounts of snow in February (great for skiers, but not so great for trees and shrubs). This is the perfect time of year to repair some of the damage left behind by rock salt, high winds, fluctuating temperatures and precipitation:

Prune any broken or damaged tree limbs. Make this step a little easier with pruning/gardening shears or a simple pruning saw.

Water thirsty evergreens. Evergreens can become dehydrated over the course of a long winter. If you notice your evergreens have become dry and discolored, make the most of the nice days and water them to give them a boost.

Address salt injury. When edges of leaves appear burnt, they may be reacting to the rock salt sprinkled on driveways and sidewalks. This is common for plants adjacent to driveways or in areas where there’s a lot of runoff. Help alleviate the salt buildup for plants reacting poorly to rock salt by regularly flushing the area with water in early spring. Next season, try using less salt, shoveling more, and consider using sand or sawdust as an alternative if possible.


Dianthus adds a spot of color to planters in the Downtown Scranton Business District.


Step 3 — Add a spot of color to your garden right now with cold hardy plants.

Varieties such as pansies and dianthus thrive even in the chilliest Northeastern Pennsylvania temperatures. Both are readily available in local garden centers.  And with about 300 species of dianthus, you have lots of color choices to brighten up your landscape. You’ll find white, red, two-toned varieties and others with splashes of color or dark centers.

To learn more about Safe, Clean & Green projects, follow Scranton Tomorrow, or email Steve Ward at [email protected]. For more gardening tips, explore the Penn State Master Gardeners program in Lackawanna County.

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