It may be hard to believe while we’re currently stuck in the throes of winter, but spring is just around the corner and that means a good amount of work getting our lawns and gardens back to their full beauty and strength of seasons past.
For months during winter your lawn, trees, bushes and gardens are covered, stressed, and pressed by snow and ice and can be damaged by deicers like rock salt.
When the snow clears and life finally begins to return, your lawn can appear patchy and many plants seemingly unhealthy, but their all most resilient than we often give them credit for.
While the amount of work needed will vary on the yard and on the severity of the winter, there is a short checklist of lawn care tips for spring that can help anyone kickstart their lawn and garden and prepare it for the rest of the year.
Take a Walk
Before you get down to work in a specific area, make sure you know the whole picture.
Take a walk around the property to get a clear idea of any damage that may have occurred and the work ahead of you. This is also a great time to do some basic clearing of dead or broken materials to clear the way for you later.
Clear Your Gardens
If you have gardens or flower beds, getting these cleaned out and planted can do a lot to improve the overall look of your yard almost immediately. Marigolds and pansies are two cold-resistant flowers that are very common and can be found at any nursery, perfect for spring planting.
Trim and clear any damaged or overgrown foliage to improve the look of the beds and make room for new, healthy growth. When pruning trees, make sure to cut no closer to the trunk than the branch collar, the raised ring where the trunk and the branch join.
The area around the branch collar is naturally capable of healing itself when a branch is shed, but improper pruning can damage the trees ability to cover the wound exposing the entire tree to the risk of decay.
Along with any waste you create, make sure to clear old mulch, dead leaves, and branches from the flower beds. While these materials can be composted and help improve soil conditions, those operations need to be kept separate. If left unattended, all of this material can build up in the flower beds and smother your plants.
Mow the Lawn
Unless your lawn suffered extreme damage in the winter months, spring fertilization isn’t essential. (For much of the country, application of fertilizer in the fall is most effective.) You lawn will undoubtedly appear patchy and flattened, but it won’t take long to fix that.
Using a plastic leaf rake, you can quickly get the grass upright, and a pass of the mower will improve the look by evening out the grass. While raking make sure not to apply any pressure – rely only on the weight of the rake itself.
Using a metal rake or applying too much pressure can pull up the grass and do major damage to your lawn. Most people have manageable lawns, but if you lack the time or have a giant lawn consider hiring a landscape company to do the basics to free up your time to focus on your garden.
For many of us, the simple joy of finally being outside can cause a sort of ‘spring-fever’ and actually lead to over-care for our lawns. One such common mistake comes when the water finally gets turned on. Depending on the climate and rainfall, your sprinklers may not even be necessary until much nearer to summer, but often times that spring fever (and the sad look of a post-winter lawn) can lead to an excessive amount of watering.
Check with your local lawn care for watering tips in your area. Grass is a hearty organism, and a good thirst is actually extremely healthy and advantageous in the long run. When grass is thirsty it encourages deep growth in the root system, seeking out more water.
Constant watering in the spring negates the need for such strong roots and will leave your lawn ill-prepared for the summer heat that lies ahead. Nevertheless your sprinklers will need to be turned on, consult your local sprinkler expert for your sprinkler start up.
Lawn care, specifically spring lawn care, can be a lot of work, but it’s extremely satisfying to enjoy a healthy lawn throughout the year, and a healthy lawn, trees and plants can help raise property value – all it takes is dedication, knowledge and some simple landscape tips.
If it seems like too much to handle, though, there are always lawn care professionals who are happy to help you get your yard ready for spring and keep it looking great all year round.