Spring is the season of rejuvenation when Mother Nature conjures greenery up from the dead of winter. She’ll need your help in reviving your garden’s landscape to its former green glory. So ready your green thumbs for early spring cleaning this year in preparation for a fruitful growing season.
Post-Winter Lawn Work
After the lengthy freeze of winter, fetch your lawn equipment from the shed. Examine the condition and service the tools if necessary. For your lawn mower, you’ll want to sharpen the blades, change the oil, clean its filter and fill it with a fresh tank of fuel. Raise the blades on the mower to prevent ripping or permanently damaging the grass. Wait until your lawn is free and clear of the morning dew or melted snow.
Use a dethatcher or lawn scarifier to remove the layer of thatch for your lawn’s overall health. Don’t fret if you don’t own one of these contraptions—an aggressive raking will do the trick.
Mulch Ado About Nothing
With a steel rake or blower, extricate all the leafy and twiggy interlopers from your garden bed. And all that old mulch? It’s got to go. Aging mulch can build up and smother the life from your plants, obstructing them from the photosynthesis they deserve. Begin by using a manual edger along the bed’s perimeter. Sink the edger down about four or five inches and scoop all that dirt into a pile, suggests ThisOldHouse.com. Collect the edgings and all of the old mulch (or as much as is possible) with your rake. Shovel the debris into your wheelbarrow to be carted off for composting.
Remove the elderly mulch around trees. If you neglect this step, the mulch can directly cause the trees’ trunks to rot and instigate the growth of a secondary root system, according to ThisOldHouse.com.
Pruning & Pests
In the winter’s frosty aftermath, parts of your trees and shrubs are often left dead and dying. Gather your handsaw and shears because it’s time to oust the old to make way for the new. Flowering perennials need pruning to a height of four to five inches, according to ThisOldHouse.com, whereas ornamental grasses need only two or three. Snip any plants extending far from their containers or breaching onto pathways.
Be cognizant of insect infestation or other parasitic pests once the weather warms. Remediate this issue immediately so that it doesn’t continue and spoil the growing season. Digitaria, or crabgrass, is another botanical affliction that can undermine your lawn’s verdant beauty. To prevent crabgrass germination, apply pre-emergence chemicals over the lawn when the yellow forsythia blooms, according to AroundTheYard.com. Only apply chemicals where crabgrass is known to grow and where the grass is thin.
For greener gardening, consider alternatives to pesticides such as using netting, hand-picking, or companion planting strategies. If you insist on using pesticides, look for chemicals that are low-impact and biodegradable. The state of New Jersey published this handy guide to alternative pest control.