Preparing Your Lawn And Garden For Spring
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
Spring is here, which means gardening season is just around the corner! Here are some tips to give you a jump start on preparing your lawn and garden for spring once the snow melts!
- Inspect - Inspect your yard and garden for plants damaged from ice and snow, beds that need cleaning, walls, fences, and benches that have shifted, broken,bowed, or rotted, and new animal burrows.
- Clean up debris - Clean up leaves, twigs, branches and other debris that have gathered over the winter using a rake or leaf blower. Debris can get stuck in your lawn mower and will block fertilizers from being properly absorbed by your lawn.
- Trim trees - It’s hard to tell if a tree has dead branches unless you get up into it, and if dead branches are left untended, they can fall, potentially causing property damage or injury. Consider hiring a tree trimmer to do a safety prune once every three years — ideally before the leaves come out, when it’s easier to see the condition of the branches.
- Set up planters and garden beds - Now is the time of year to build garden beds, install shepherd’s hooks or window boxes, and order new pots to ensure that you have enough space to showcase all of your beautiful plants.
- Put down mulch - Apply a thick layer of mulch wherever you can. Mulch is more effective at preventing weeds from growing if you can get it in place before the weeds start sprouting.
- Prepare your soil - After the frost lifts and the soil is workable, you can start to prepare your garden beds. Loosen up the soil by tilling or turning it, add a layer of compost, then rake the soil level and water it lightly to help it settle and release air pockets.
- Prune - Late winter/early spring is the perfect time to prune back old wood because you can see the branch structure well and you can shape the plant before the buds break dormancy. Some of the plants you want to prune at this time of year are: Buddleia (Butterfly Bush), Cornus Canadensis (Flowering Dogwood), Lonicera (Honeysuckle), Hydrangea paniculata, Cercis (Redbud), summer-blooming Spirea, Lagerstroemia (Crepe Myrtle), Rose, and Wisteria. You should use a clean rag and some isopropyl alcohol to sterilize your pruners before each cut. This will keep you from spreading plant disease all around the garden. Whenever you prune your plants, it is a good idea to add fertilizer to the soil so that the plant has the nutrients to heal its wounds quickly. Do not prune early flowering shrubs and those that bloom on old wood such as azalea, forsythia, lilac, quince, ninebark and weigela in spring. If you do, you’ll risk cutting off this year’s flower buds.
- Be prepared for the possibility of more cold weather - The weather can sometimes be unpredictable at this time of year, so be prepared for the possibility of a late spring frost. Cover up plants that have emerging buds or foliage with old sheets or towels, or a professional cover. Do not cover plants with plastic sheeting or tarps, as this will magnify the cold's effect.
Caring for your lawn and garden is an ongoing job, but if you get the big tasks done early, you'll have more time to soak up the sun and enjoy the gorgeous spring and summer weather.