It’s the moment we’ve been waiting for since that first frosty day last October. The sun is shining, the air is warm and moist, the birds are singing, lawns and gardens are starting to peek out from under their snowy winter blankets; it must be spring! Today, we offer a checklist of measures you should take to make sure your lawn and gardens are summer-ready. Use our checklist to jump-start your lawns and gardens this spring and have them ready and thriving to enjoy all summer:
____ 1. Avoid walking on wet, cold lawns
When your lawn is as damp and fragile as it is in the spring it is pretty easy to leave footprints and impressions in the soil. It’s very easy to turn it into mush if lots of people walk on it or it’s walked on often in the same spot. As the ground dries and firms these areas become patchy and lumpy – less enjoyable for you in summer and harder to mow when the grass grows. Do your best to avoid tearing up your recovering from winter spring lawn.
Heavy snow weighs down on your trees all winter causing sticks and twigs to fall and disappear into the snow on the ground below. Start off your spring maintenance by taking a walk around your property to pick up all the sticks that appear as the snow melts. This important for you to be able to safely mow your lawn when it starts growing again. Sticks flying through the mower is bad for your blades and often bad for your shins!
Grit from winter ice management will have accumulated on your driveway and paths. Sweep this off to have everything nice and clean again, reducing the chances of it being trapsed into the house on shoes or causing you to slip on paths. As long as there isn’t too much salt in your grit it should be fine to blow it onto your lawn with your power blower. It’ll filter down into the soil and help with drainage.
Rake up or use a motorized blower to remove any leaves from the lawn. Leaves left on the lawn can rot and sometimes poison the soil. Maples have chemicals that inhibit growth of other plants. Get them off the lawn so it will get the light and air it needs to grow this spring.
____ 5. Clean Out Eavestroughs
If you didn’t clean them out at the end of fall, now is a good time to clean all the debris out of the eavestroughs. This will ensure that the spring runoff will flow nicely down your downspouts. Keep an eye out for water dripping over the edges of your eavestroughs this spring as it may indicate they are blocked. Clean these out as soon as possible to avoid water running down your foundation walls – if left unchecked for too long it could cause structural damage to your home.
The freezing and thawing of the winter and the spring runoff will erode your vertically edged lawns and gardens. Better get out the stick edger or hand edger and chop around your sidewalks, driveways and gardens to get that clean looking vertical edge back again.
____ 7. Keep an eye out for dead patches and try to determine a cause
Now’s the time to start planning where spring repairs will be needed on your lawn. Is damage caused by insects, ice, salt or disease? Once you know the cause of the damage you’ll be able to properly prepare to fix these spots as soon as possible to enjoy your perfect lawn all summer.
Just like looking for dead patches, take a moment to look for areas of lawn that are thin or bare. There may be no obvious cause for this situation, so consider if high traffic or shade may be the culprit. If so, you will likely need to think about which variety or mixtures of grass types you try to grow in these areas. You may need to choose a more suitable seed to improve the lawn in problem spots..
After being compressed by snow all winter it’s a good idea to turn over the top few inches of soil or mulch in your flower beds. This is hand tilling – a process of incorporating the top layer of soil deeper, and bringing lower layers to the surface. Respect the valuable structure of your soil and do not till deeper than the top few inches. You don’t want to disturb your soil strata as it will impact plant growth as the soil recovers from disturbance. Hand tilling the top few inches will improve nutrient delivery to your plants as well as moisture absorption.
____ 10. Looking towards next month…
For next month, you’ll want to start thinking about dethatching, aerating and seeding your lawn. Keep your eye out for our April Lawn and Garden Upkeep List. If you need help getting your lawn into top shape contact Local Lawns we love to help!
Have a tip for us? Is there something we’re forgetting? Please comment below and we’ll add your ideas into our checklists!