Before you head outdoors with your gardening tools, be sure to first check out these essential spring lawn care and garden maintenance tips.
Essential Spring Lawn Care and Garden Maintenance Tips
For most of us, as winter starts to wane and the temperatures begin to rise, you might feel that familiar itch to get outside and do some quick garden fix-ups for spring.
Where should you start and what projects should you undertake before it gets too warm?
Here’s what you should consider doing now:
1. Pick Up Debris from Lawn and Flower Beds
The best place to start with any spring project is to do a quick yard check and inventory of potential to-do projects.
First, pick up any trash that has blown into your lawn or flower beds and clear away debris like fallen branches.
Besides making your yard and gardens look bad, these things aren’t great for the environment.
And, don’t forget to remove any broken lawn ornaments or other debris that might have been damaged by winter snows, ice or weather.
RELATED: Easy Weekend Garden Projects
2. Spring Lawn Mower Maintenance and Tune Up Tips (Video)
Spring is the perfect time to tune up your lawn equipment. Tackle this task one piece of equipment at a time, starting with your lawn mower. Move on to your grass trimmer, blower, etc.
3. Fluff Up Lawn and Flower Beds
Winter frost, ice and snow has a way of compacting the soil and plant beds so that it becomes hard and unyielding in the spring. So the idea of “fluffying up” your lawn and flower beds with a good rake is important because it will allow air and water to penetrate the soil better.
Some lawn enthusiasts will swear by mechanically thatching and/or aerating one’s lawn in the spring and fall.
Depending upon your soil type, this might be advantageous.
For me, I prefer to manually use either a leaf rake or a metal rake to get the job done.
Garden Tip: Make sure that your garden equipment is sharp, because jagged cuts left by unsharpened blades will allow insects and disease to attack your plants.
4. Prune It or Lose It
Here’s a super spring lawn care tip: Whether it is grass, hedges or diseased, unwanted, or dead tree branches, you are always better off to prune or cut them back in the late winter or early spring. Grasses, too, especially ornamental ones need a good “hair cut” before the new shoots start to grow.
RELATED: Home Depot Garden Club
And, don’t forget your rose bushes and shrubs. They, too, need to be trimmed and pruned in the cooler weather before any insects arrive on the scene. The rule of thumb to remove a branch is to it as close to the trunk or an intersecting joint of the tree. If you prune close to the trunk, be careful not to create any scratches or cuts around the removed branch area.
Best Practices for Pruning Your Shrubs and Trees (Video)
5. Fertilize, De-weed and Seed
Depending upon which lawn products you use, sometimes fertilizer will be included with your grass seed. It is best to always consult with a professional and read all package labels of the products you will be using before adding any product to your lawn.
This is especially true when you are unsure which to place first or second. Because adding too much fertilizer isn’t good for your lawn, it may kill off the little grass seedlings, plus it also wastes money.
Garden Tip: Don’t put down the wrong grass seeds too soon or too late in the spring season or it may cost you extra money and not give you the results you are looking for.
6. How to Safely Clean Your Downspouts and Gutters (Video)
Did you know that cleaning your gutters is great for your lawn? You bet. Seeds and other debris gathers in the gutters and downspouts. So get in the habit of cleaning them every spring (and fall) to allow clean water to flow freely and efficiently.
7. Wash Outdoor Birdfeeders
Time to think of your feathered friends. You love to see the birds and butterflies but did you know that it’s a good idea to properly clean out bird baths and bird/butterfly feeders? It’s true. Disease can be spread from year to year, so it’s best if you use a 10 to 1 bleach solution, and scrub out bird feeders, bird baths, and houses.
8. Remove Unwanted Plants
Spring is the best time to remove invasive plants. The ground is warm enough to till but not so warm as to enhance the growth of plants that are contrary to the health of your garden.
Follow your local agricultural department directives and you’ll go a long way to enhancing native plant growth.
9. Lay Out the Mulch
Spring is the perfect time to add mulch and weed barriers.
The rule of thumb is to add only about one inch around your plants and throughout the beds.
Be wary, though, of where you purchase your mulch. Make sure that it comes from healthy wood so that disease and unwanted pesky insects won’t be passed along to your precious trees, shrubs and bushes.
10. Crank up the Machines
Along with tuning up your lawn equipment, make sure that you crank them up to make sure that they are running smoothly. Check the height of your lawn mower decks and also refill your trimmer spools for instant access once mowing season begins.
11. Activate Your Compost Pile
Considered “black gold” composting is super easy to do if you know how. With just a few steps and a store-bought or homemade bin, you will be able to reap the benefits of this soil enhancing product.
Never composted before? Check out this super how-to video:
How to Compost 101 (Video)
12. Till and Fortify Your Soil
And, speaking of fortifying your soil, it’s time to get your hand tools and rototiller out of the shed. Rough up the soil in your planting beds and gardens to allow air and surface nutrients to penetrate the depths. Doing so will also allow nature’s special “tillers,” namely earthworms, to begin fortifying your gardens.
13. Get Your Plant and Seed Orders In
Get a running start on your summer vegetable garden by buying your seeds now. You can purchase them from storefront or online stores. But remember time is of essence, especially if you want to start your plants from seed way before planting them.
Some of the more popular seed companies are:
14. Plant Early Bloomers
Believe it or not, mid to late spring is a great time for gardeners. You can begin with cool weather vegetables and leafy greens. Some may need to be started indoors and you may have to provide a bit of protection when temperatures dip down at night. But there isn’t anything better than getting a couple of harvests from your cool weather veggies.
This is also a good time to plant spring bulbs. These bulbs will bloom later in summer or early fall. Read the package directions for the best time to plant, as well as how best to prepare the soil.
Wonder where to start in your spring garden? P. Allen Smith has got you covered in this handy video:
Simple Spring Planting Tips – P. Allen Smith (Video)
15. Make Sure Your Hoses Are in Order
Now’s a great opportunity to check to make sure your hoses do not have any holes in the sidewalls or loose hose fittings. Replace as necessary.
For more garden tips, be sure to check out Wisconsin Homemaker’s Garden Section.