By spending a little time in your landscape now, you can better enjoy the greatactivities spring and summer have to offer. Planting annuals or perennials in bands of solid blocks is a great way to add contrast tothe typical background of dark green shrubs. In some cases, a small amount of insect damage may not warrant a full-scale spraying.You may kill more beneficial insects than harmful ones. Spring is an excellent time, too, to use your fall compost in preparing new flower bedsor amending old ones. Completed compost can be tilled or hand-turned into native soilsto improve conditions for future flower beds. Spray registered pesticides and organic alternatives by label directions only whenyou’re sure of the precise pest (and how many) you have. If you haven’t done so already, take a soil sample from your flower bed. That will tellhow much lime or fertilizer the bed needs. In the absence of a soil test, a balancedfertilizer should do well in most cases. Now would be a great time to add some color to your landscape, too. Our soils arewarming, so many summer annuals can be planted without fear of frost. A bright bedof impatiens, geraniums, begonias or old reliable marigolds can add colorful contrast toany landscape. As a final check in your landscape, before you allow spring outdoor fever to hit, don’tforget to pest-proof your landscape investment. You can’t totally rid your landscape orgarden of all bugs and diseases, but a little prevention now can save a lot of headacheslater. Most of your major pruning chores should be completed by now. Prune early-bloomingplants such as azaleas, forsythia, hydrangea and dogwood, though, as soon as they’vefinished flowering. Pruning these plants now will ensure next year’s crop of blooms. Be sure to check the undersides of leaves while looking for problem pests. Spidermites, aphids and lace bugs love to hide under the protective covering of a leaf. Youwon’t see them if you don’t check thoroughly. Scout your shrubs carefully now, looking for signs of insect activity. Learn to identifydamaging pests as well as the beneficial ones — there are far more good bugs thanharmful ones in our landscapes. Be careful not to overfertilize. You may injure sensitive plants or cause them to growtoo much. A slow-release fertilizer is a good option. It can better protect plants againstfertilizer burn and can provide nutrition to them over a longer term. As we begin to leave the cold behind, many of us focus on warm-weather hobbies suchas fishing, golf or picnics. Don’t just rush into your favorite pastime, though. A littleattention to your landscape now will make it look its best this summer. Disease problems may begin to appear as we get into warmer weather. Many of theleaf-spot diseases that appear on shrubs cause only minor cosmetic damage. More severe problems can be a sign of trouble in the root zone. Your county extensionagent can help diagnose them and suggest the right fungicide or cultural practice touse. Use partially composted material as a top mulch around shrubs to help conservemoisture in the summer heat. Don’t bother removing the old mulch unless it hasbecome badly matted and waterlogged.