We survived through the very long winter and I, for one, am so happy that Spring is finally here. I'm looking forward to longer days, warmer weather, spring flowers and enjoying time outdoors. Now that most of the snow has melted we are left with the remains of our Fall yard work this could be a good or bad thing depending on how much work you did several months ago. But, with newly thawed you’ll realize that the spring clean-up doesn’t have to be that bad. It just requires breaking down the tasks that must be done and having the right tools for the job. Through a series of simple steps and before you know it your yard will look spectacular and you will truly earn your summer!
Prune and Trim
It’s suggested to do this step before raking and clearing away debris to save yourself the trouble of cleaning up the clippings after you’ve already raked. If you were kind to your trees and shrubs last summer all you’re in for this time around is a “hair cut”. Trim back any branches and shape shrubs
Clear Away Debris
Winter storms leave a messy path of broken branches and sticks. Gather up the larger debris first to allow for much easier raking. Clean out any potted plants that didn't make it through the winter or that were forgotten to be pulled out in the fall. As a side note, make sure all holiday decorations are removed, sometimes we let those Halloween pumpkins and Christmas wreaths long past their time.
Choose a Good Rake for the Job
Make sure to have rake that isn’t missing any tines before you begin. Start by raking out your garden beds and lawn. Either compost the debris or dispose of your leaves according to your town’s guidelines. With all that debris removed your lawn will green up in no time and your buried perennials will come to life.
Since we don’t live in a warm climate, your grass is probably looking tired and more tan than green. Fertilizer is a great idea to give your lawn the nutrients it needs for strong roots and a bright green appearance. If you’re unsure of which fertilizer to use and how often, talk with your local retailer that sells the product. Andy finally, choose a spreader that works for your yard size.
Edge the Beds
Consider this the manicure makeover of your clean up as it visually makes a huge difference! Grass naturally grows into your flower beds leaving a messy unruly edge. This is the step that defines a crisp line between the two and helps keep your mulch contained.
You’ll want to have specific tools on hand to tackle this project; a Half Moon Edger, a Hula-Ho Weeder and a 2-Prong Weeding Hoe. You’ll use the Half Moon Edger most of the time, it’s rounded edge allows you to rock side to side and loosen small stones that might get caught up on a straight edge. The Hula-Ho and 2-Prong Hoe are your backup support. They are useful if a lot of grass has overtaken an area. Their flat edges peel the grass and weeds back from the soil. The 2 prongs are especially helpful for stubborn roots or stones. Shown below are photos of the tools that were mentioned as well as a before and after to show you what kind of results you can get.
Half Moon Edger 2-Pronged Hoe Hula-Hoe
Mulch helps your plantings retain moisture, it creates a weed barrier and prevents soil erosion. It also gives your beds a finished look. When mulching a bed for the first time it is wise to lay a preventative layer, like a weed blocking fabric, or several layers of newspaper between the mulch and the soil. This prevents any growth of seedlings/weeds that might be lurking in or under the soil from coming to the surface.
You can use leaves, wood chips, compost or even stone for mulch. Spread your mulch 2-4" thick, but go sparingly around tree and shrub bases. Too much mulch in these areas can actually cause rot and prevent water from getting to the roots. It is best to remove old or excess mulch first in these areas before applying new.
Repairs, New Projects and Painting
If everything went well, congratulations, you’re done. But most people find they have created more work by coming up with new projects or ideas for the landscaping. Sometimes it can turn into a never-ending list!