Spring showers and warmer temperatures are just around the corner, which means it is time to gear up and get your outdoor areas ready for anything. Lawn and garden care is all about timing, so here are some common tips and tricks to keep your lawn and garden looking great.
Rake and dethatch:
During the winter months, dead grass and lawn clippings can be matted down into thatch. This prevents the germination of new grass seed and promotes pest infestation or fungus growth. Once the soil is good and dry, give your lawn a decent once-over raking with basic lawn rakes or special dethatching tools. Be careful not to rake too soon in the season, as this can disturb the soggy soil and damage your new grass shoots.
Still have lingering snow patches in shaded areas? Use your garden tools to distribute the moisture to help the snow melt faster and prevent mold from growing on the grass underneath.
Clip, prune, remove:
Get a jump-start on pruning back your branches, shrubs, and bushes this spring! Clipping back larger sections of your plants helps the smaller area absorb more nutrients from the sunlight and water. It is an easy way to help your garden stay healthy, grow fuller, and last longer.
Knowing exactly when to prune is an important step in making sure your garden thrives. Ornamental grasses, perennials, evergreens, flowering shrubs, summer-flowering trees, vines, and roses are best pruned in early springtime. Always use caution when pruning to make sure you do not clip back too much of the healthy plant to ensure a successful regrowth process.
Remove any damaged, dead, or diseased areas as soon as you become aware of them. Dead stems attract insects and invite diseases, ultimately hurting your garden. Don’t forget about your lawn! Remove any fallen leaves or debris that has accumulated during the cooler season to give your grass shoots some room to breathe.
Mulch the bulbs:
The warm weather spells may fool you, but we are just beginning to head into the beginning of spring and cooler temperatures are still likely to come. Your spring and summer flowering bulbs need moisture, but consider lightly covering them with mulch. The mulch will add some insulation to protect against chilly temperatures. Plus, when the snow all melts and your bulbs start blooming, your beds will look fantastic!
If you planted your bulbs in September, October or November, they will usually remain dormant until March or April. Start feeding the bulbs with high phosphate fertilizers during or right after their prime bloom times in spring.
Make the most of the rain:
Nitrogen is the most important nutrient for a lush-looking lawn. Watch for a late-season rainstorm to come and then lay down some springtime fertilizer to give your grass the nutrients it needs to be looking green for the months ahead.
Be careful not to apply fertilizer too early in the season as this could throw off the natural growth cycle of the lawn’s root system. If you fertilized your lawn in late fall, products generally have slow-release functions that linger to provide extra nutrients as the snow melts off. Wait for the later season rainfall before applying any new products.
Sharpen, tune-up, replace:
While you are waiting for spring showers to help your lawn and garden wake up again, do not forget to sharpen your tools, tune up your mowers, and replace any older yard equipment. Having the right maintenance tools for your outdoor spaces not only helps make upkeep easier for you but can also help promote new growth of your plants through precision cutting and gentle digging or raking.
Cool season grasses like Kentucky Bluegrass, Ryegrass, and Tall Fescue should be mowed to 2.5-3” in height. One of the biggest mistakes is mowing turf too short, which can result in weeds, diseases, insect problems, and a decreased tolerance for drought and heat. Whether it is sharpening the blades, changing the oil, or replacing an air filter, make sure your mower is fired up and ready to go for all of your accurate summer mowings.