As spring weather warms homeowners want to take advantage of their yards and garden. A weekend spent on spring maintenance tasks can reduce time spent landscaping in the later spring and summer. Add these tasks to your to-do list now to get your yard in good shape for the spring and summer ahead.
Spring Yard Maintenance Checklist
1. Rake dead leaves: If any leaves remain, rake them up now to perk up your yard for spring, and dispose of them with compost or yard waste. When damp, dead foliage can promote diseases. This simple action will drastically improve your yard's look and feel and get you excited for the lawn and gardening season ahead.
2. Rake the lawn to prevent thatch: Certain types of thick grass -- notably Bermuda grass and Zoysia -- are prone to thatch or matting. This makes it difficult for water and nutrients to penetrate the soil, and can sabotage a lawn. Get on this early by raking the grass in spring to break up any mats that have formed, using a special grass rake or dethatcher.
3. Even out your turf: Winter can cause frost heaves, which leave peaks and valleys in your lawn. Top off any low patches with fresh turf and level out any hills to create an even starting base. Don't worry about any bare patches you're creating when you do this, as you'll fill them in presently.
4. Fertilize: Fertilizing restores the nutrient balance to your lawn so everything can grow its best. Fertilize in early spring to get your grass off to a good start.
5. Reseed the grass - Snow plows, shovels, road salt, and disease can damage and kill grass, leaving your yard bare. When grass begins to grow again, check it out. If bare spots appear, reseed with grass seed that's designed for your climate and your level of sun or shade exposure. To help your grass get off to a strong start, keep it moist and fertilize regularly.
6. Nurture seeded grass: To germinate, grass seed needs to be kept moist. Make a daily habit of watering your seeded lawn until the seed sprouts. Your grass seed bag should indicate how long the grass takes to sprout on average, which gives you a guideline.
7. Trim perennials and ornamental grasses: Come spring, perennial plants and ornamental grasses can look bedraggled, with brown, dead growth making your yard look messy. Trimming this back not only improves the appearance of your yard, it gives room for the new shoots to grow. Clip grass shoots or perennial growth to a maximum height of 2-3 inches using hand pruners. As the new shoots grow in, they will camouflage the dead growth.
8. Plant summer flowering bulbs - Summer flowering bulbs, like canna, are best planted in the spring. If you like to add a splash of color to garden beds using bulbs, plant your summer flowering bulbs now.
9. Plant annual flowers - Annual flowers and herbs are ideal for window boxes, kitchen gardens, and cheery pots on the patio. Pick up annuals from a local garden center and plant them in spring to give your home curb appeal.
10. Mulch garden beds - To help plants thrive while reducing the amount of watering you'll do in the summer months, make sure that garden beds are mulched. Aim for at least 2 inches of mulch on garden beds to keep moisture in the soil and promote plant health.
Break up these tasks and tackle one a day, or take a full weekend to get your lawn and garden in shape.