Spring is almost here and that means warm weather, fresh air, blooming flowers, and spring cleaning. If you are feeling stuck on where to begin with your cleaning checklist, look no further. One of the best places to start is with your yard. It is the first thing people see and what better way to welcome spring than by preparing your land for beautiful flowers to bloom?
Here are a few things to get started on to ensure that you have a charming yard in time for spring.
Clean up and rake
The first step in getting your yard ready for the spring is cleaning up your lawn. You can start by pruning any broken, diseased or dead limbs from your trees and thinning out and trimming up some of your other shrubs.
After you clear up your lawn, it’s time to rake. Even if you don’t have leaves, it is important to rake the thatch, which is the layer of dead grass and lawn clippings that accumulate between the grass and root system. This layer can prevent moisture and nutrients from reaching the soil and promote fungal growth that can be bad for the health of your grass.
Raking can also help you find matted patches of lawn, which can result in a lawn disease called snow mold which will make it difficult for new grass to grow.
Spring brings many new plants and flowers, but these can be annoying if they get out of hand. To get rid of unwanted weeds, snap off their stems before they produce seeds or, if you are more ambitious, dig them out by the roots.
You can also choose to spray a post-emergent herbicide to get rid of some weeds, however this is usually more effective in the fall rather than the spring.
To ensure a healthy lawn, it is important to check the pH of your soil. Grass grows best in a neutral pH, so if you see compaction or moss coating the ground, it may mean that you have acidic soil. You can neutralize the acid in your soil by adding ground limestone to it, which will be a gradual process.
However, keep in mind that soil should not be too alkaline either, so only apply lime as a corrective measure, not a preventive measure.
Your lawn likely has some bare patches as a result of a heavy winter, dog spots, or kids running around on it. To fill in those bare patches, you can try overseeding, which is the process of sowing seed over existing grass.
The first step is to loosen the surface to a depth of 2 to 4 inches and then level the soil by using the back of a garden rake. Then, spread grass seed over the bare spot and tap the surface with the flat end of a rake to pack in the seed.
Fertilize and water
After planting some more grass seed, it’s time to fertilize. Try applying a 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch around the base of plants, trees and shrubs as well as emerging bulbs and perennials. This will help moderate soil temperatures, maintain soil moisture, prevent weeds, and create a beautiful look for your garden. You can use compost, shredded bark or leaves as mulch. Just be cautious because too much fertilizer in the spring can lead to disease and weed issues.
After fertilizing, get your new plants off to a good start by thoroughly soaking the soil before putting them in the ground. Once they are in the ground, keep the soil slightly moist at all times until the plants become established.
Get your lawn tools ready and mow
The final step in getting your yard prepared for spring is to check your hand tools and equipment to see if they need any repairing, cleaning or replacing. You should also make sure your irrigation system is working properly for the upcoming growing season.
It is also important to start the spring season with a sharp blade on your lawn mower. A dull blade can rip grass rather than cut it which makes plants more susceptible to infection and water loss. It is recommended you give your mower a tune-up once a year.
Once your lawnmower is ready and grass has started growing, mow your lawn to a height of 2.5 to 3.5 inches. This will produce tough turf that will crowd out pesky weeds and will be less susceptible to drought and summer heat, resulting in a greener lawn that saves you time and money.
Start a compost pile
If you really want to go the extra mile and make this your best spring yet, you can try creating your own compost pile. All you have to do is layer carbon-rich materials (brown) with nitrogen-rich materials (green) at a 3-to-1 ratio, adding a layer of soil in between each addition. For brown sources, you can use garden trimmings, dry leaves, pine needles, straw, wood chips, shredded paper products and sawdust. Some possible green sources include grass clippings, green leaves and plant material, animal hair and manures, and kitchen wastes.
Attract birds to your garden
The final thing you can do to really make your yard stand out this spring, is getting some birds to pass through. To attract them to your garden, try setting up a birdbath, a birdfeeder, and a birdhouse. You can also try planting some seed and fruit-bearing plants, such as sunflower, echinacea, cotoneaster, honeysuckle, viburnum, aster, salvia and zinnia.
Spring is just a few days away and it’s time to get a head start on your spring cleaning! The best way to start is with your lawn so that the outside of your house looks nice and motivates you to clean the rest. Also, who doesn’t love looking at flowers while cleaning?
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