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Spring is finally here. This past winter was rough (Especially in the northeast. Sorry, Boston!), but the snow has melted and you can finally see grass again.
Unfortunately, it’s brown.
But soon it will be green again. Before that happens, you can help your yard flourish by doing a little spring cleaning. To help you along, we’ve created a little checklist for you to use filled with spring lawncare tips. More information can be found below the infographic.
1. Prep Your Tools
Now is a great time to put away your winter equipment and get out your summer ones. If you have a snow blower to put away, make sure you store it properly so it can start again the next time you need to use it.
If you don’t know how, check out our video on “How to Store Equipment”
Garden tools should be cleaned with castile soap and water. If there’s any rust on your tools, you can use a wire brush or pad to scrub it off. If your tool has a blade, go ahead and sharpen it. Lastly, rub a thin layer of linseed oil over any wood or metal parts. The oil will keep wood handles from drying and cracking, and metal from rusting.
Larger pieces of equipment like lawn mowers or chainsaws should be tuned up before the season starts. Don’t know how? Then check out our video “Tune-Up Basics”.
In addition to the basics, you may want to replace your lawn mower blade. A sharp blade can be all the difference between healthy and dying grass. This is because dull blades tend to rip the grass instead of cut it cleanly. This damages the grass and can kill it over time. You can purchase new blades for your mower at any of our part stores.
If you don’t have time to tune-up your equipment and live in the Milwaukee area, you can schedule an appointment with our mechanics. Schedule as early as possible so your equipment can be tended to fast.
2. Pick Up Leaves
It’s likely that your yard has picked up some debris over the winter. Now is a great time to clean it all out. Rake up leaves, debris, and pick up any sticks that may have broken off branches over the winter. This will allow your plants to get more sun exposure and grow.
Since you have a rake out, go ahead and check your lawn for snow mold. If you see any, you can use the rake to air it out. Learn about snow mold here.
3. Clean Hardscapes
Your hardscapes probably need a little care, too. It’s possible that bricks or fences have shifted around during the winter due to frost heaving. Depending on how bad the damage is, you may have to dig out the area around the hardscape to put it back in properly. You can learn more about frost heaving and how to fix it here.
Be sure to check hardscapes in high-traffic areas. It’s possible a hardscape was damaged by a plow or snow blower running into it. You can replace bricks or paint over areas that were scraped over the winter.
If your hardscapes are just dirty, you can use a pressure washer to clean them up. Just make sure the pressure is set low enough that you don’t damage or move the hardscape.
4. Divide Perennials
Perennials can overcrowd quickly if they aren’t divided. When the ground has thawed, dig them up and divide them. Each clump should have at least 3 stems to them. Examples of perennials that will probably need to be divided are daylilies and hostas.
This is also a great time to clean out your garden beds and take care of your other plants, too. The type of care plants need in the spring varies greatly. If you don’t know if any of your other plants need care, look them up or ask your local nursery. They should be able to help you with any questions you have.
5. Aerate Lawn
If you didn’t do it in the fall you may want to check again to see if your lawn needs to be aerated. Try this simple test to find out:
After a good rain or watering, glance over your entire lawn. If you see any puddles, that means water and nutrients are flowing off your grass instead of being absorbed. An aerator will open up the soil and allow more oxygen, fertilizer, and water to reach the roots of your grass. After aerating, sprinkle a mixture of sand and compost over the turf.
Don’t own an aerator? Aerators are expensive pieces of equipment and aren’t used often, so you may want to consider renting one for the day. Your wallet may thank you for it.
6. Test Soil PH
If you didn’t have a chance to test your soil last fall now may be a good time to do it. Purchase a soil PH testing kit to make sure the PH levels of your soil are ideal for the type of grass you have.
If your soil is off, you may want to add lime or sulfer to help correct it. For more information about soil testing, check out “How to Overseed.”
7. Fertilize Lawn and Garden
If your soil is the correct PH, you may want to apply a fertilizer or preemergent to your lawn and garden. Fertilizing your yard can help give your plants the nutrients to thrive and resist disease and insects. For more information on fertilizer and what type to get for your yard, check out our “Ultimate Fertilizer Guide for a Healthy Yard”
8. Add Mulch to Garden
Early spring is also a great time to put mulch in your garden. Mulch can help keep away weeds, conserve moisture, and keep nutrients near the roots. Organic mulches will also add nutrients to your soil as it decomposes over time.
9. Prune Shrubs and Trees
Now that your tools are clean and tuned-up, you can use them to prune shrubs and trees back. Pruning in the springtime is ideal because it stimulates growth in established plants.
Only shrubs that bloom in the summer should be pruned around this time. For multi-stemmed shrubs, it’s best to prune back the oldest stems by about a 3rd. Branching shrubs get large fast if left untrimmed. Locate the oldest of their stems and prune them back to a reasonable size. If you have roses, only trim their oldest stems back a foot or so if needed.
Small trees can be pruned in a number of different ways depending on how you want it to grow. For an in-depth guide on how to prune small trees, click here. Large trees are dangerous to prune on your own, especially if you need to prune a high branch that a pole saw can’t reach. You may want to contact an arborist for a large tree that needs pruning.
10. Seed Bald Spots
Note: If you used preemergent, skip this step. The preemergent will kill any seeds you put down.
In general, fall is a better time to seed bald patches on your lawn. This is because new seeds don’t have to fight with weeds or the hot sun to grow. That said, putting seed down and trying to regrow grass is better than leaving bare spots to fill with weeds.
To fill a bald spot, loosen the soil in the area that needs repairing and spread a thick layer of lawn-repair mixture. Lawn repair mixture has mulch and nuitrients already added into the seed so you won’t have to fertilize it yourself. Once laid, water the seedlings lightly and frequently until they’ve established roots.
Is your lawn is filled with bald patches or thinning? You may want to try overseeding the lawn. Check out our guide on how to overseed your whole lawn.
A little tender love and care now will help your lawn and garden thrive this spring and summer. What are your plans for you lawn and garden this summer? Let us know in the comments down below!