Spring is here! Not only are you ready to enjoy the nice weather, but your yard is ready and waiting. With a few steps, you can get your yard looking great for the spring season, with the added benefit that a great spring will set the stage for your yard to deliver a fantastic summer season as well.
Clean out your bushes, planting beds, and vegetable gardens
If your planting areas have filled up with leaves blown around from the fall and winter, you want to clean these out. Loosen up the soil or mulch in these areas, especially you were in areas where the snow packed everything down.
Trim back grasses and perennial plants
If you have ornamental grasses or perennial plants that died off, you might want to trim them back. Do a little research based on the plants you have to follow the recommended pruning method. In some cases, spring is just fine to trim as long as it hasn’t started growing yet. With some plants, fall might be better, so if you’re not sure, check.
Inspect your trees, bushes and other plantings
Look for signs of disease, damage, or overgrowth. If you have plantings which need to be trimmed or removed altogether, now is the time to start planning. If you need to get trees trimmed, do some research and consult an expert tree trimmer to make sure that you get the trimming done during the proper time of year, as trimming some things at the wrong time can make them prone to damage. With bushes, I find it’s best to wait until after they go through their spring growth period, at which point you can shape them as you wish.
Check your sprinkler system
After the ground thaws, you can get your sprinkler system turned on. Grass loves water and yard sprinklers with fully functional and properly aligned heads can make a huge difference.
Mulch where needed
We mulch our planting beds every two years or so. You want to have about two inches depth of mulch. One trick I learned from an expert is that after you spread your mulch, give it a firm press with a rake or other tool. This simple task will help keep the mulch firmly in place during winds or rainstorms.
Rake your grass
Our grass looks like someone took a nap on it all winter. Well, the snow sort of did. Once the ground is a little less squishy, go out and gently rake your grass. It will pull out the dead grass, while loosening things up for the root system to start doing its work of providing a great lawn.
Fertilize your lawn
In early spring (around now) you should put down a fertilizer, preferrably one that will keep crabgrass from growing (note: if you put any grass seed down, do not use this within six weeks of putting down the seed as it will stifle the growth of new seed). Around Memorial Day, you should put down some Weed & Feed.
Get your tools ready
Even though you might not need to cut your grass just yet, now is the time to get your equipment ready. Get your mower out, change the oil, and maybe even the spark plug, sharpen the blade, and make sure everything is running smoothly. Get your other tools ready as well, including any other yard equipment such as edgers, trimmers, or gardening tools that may have gotten damaged last year.
Nip bugs in the bud
If your yard is prone to bugs, you can start work now to minimize where they are. We have a few spots that are prone to underground yellowjackets, and I’ve learned that spraying some ‘Delta Dust’ in late fall and early spring will often cripple the hibernating queens. I also keep an eye out for the formation of wasp nests around the eaves of our house, as it’s much easier to shut down a nest while it’s early in the building process versus once it’s established.
These are some simple yet effective methods to set your yard for a great spring and a fantastic outdoor season.