Spring is just about sprung, and the days are already getting longer. If you want to have a beautiful yard in time for summer, then now is the time to get started with your landscaping-related tasks. If you start now, you’ll have a chance to get everything in shape early enough to avoid heavy-duty tasks this summer.
Here are the jobs you can tackle now that will help your yard march merrily from spring to summer:
Mulch Those Leaves
With fall weather being so contrary, there was snow on the ground before all the autumn leaves had finished falling. Too much leaf litter can contribute to bald spots in your grass, mold, overpacked earth that won’t permit growth and fungal growth.
The solution is simple enough: Get out your lawnmower on one of these warm spring days and mulch up those leaves as finely as possible. If the leaf cover isn’t particularly thick, a fine mulching won’t hurt your yard (and can even protect your newly budding grass). If your yard is pretty well covered in old leaves, however, you need to rake up the mulch and bag it away.
Get Rid of Garden Weeds
Be honest: Did a few weeds sneak into your flower beds toward the end of summer? Whether it’s just a small patch of weeds among your flowers and shrubs or your garden is thoroughly overgrown, now is the time to get those stray plants out of there.
Weeds, tree seedlings and trash can sometimes accumulate in even the most well-tended garden thanks to the winter winds. Even if you’re sure you left your yard in good shape toward fall, give your flower beds the once-over. Getting rid of stray plants now will keep them from developing deep roots or damaging your shrubs and flowers.
Mulch Your Garden
In this case, we’re talking about the commercially prepared mulch that you get by the truckload or bag. This particular step can save you a ton of time throughout the rest of the summer by keeping down the weeds and making your garden more drought-resistant.
Generally speaking, you can get away with a 2-3” layer of mulch in shady spots, but can take up to six inches of mulch to stop weeds from prospering in newly turned areas or sunny beds. Just remember that mulch retains moisture, so keep it away from the stems of your rose bushes, shrubs and trees to avoid rot before the weather turns warm.
Get Ahead of Crabgrass
If you wait until you can actually see the crabgrass that crops up in your lawn to try to control it, you’ll be fighting a frustrating battle this summer. Killing the crabgrass once it has sprouted can leave your lawn with ugly bare spots.
Pre-emergent control is the much better option. There are numerous “weed and feed” products that combine weed prevention that will usually take care of crabgrass, dandelions and clover with food that will nurture your grass and help it grow nicely all summer.
Be Generous with the Grass Seed
You don’t want to merely seed your lawn this spring — you need to overseed. Unless you already have a preference for a particular type of grass seed, you can choose one that suits your needs the best. Some seeds are designed to handle the summer heat and full sun and others are hardy to foot traffic.
When you mow your lawn to mulch those pesky leftover leaves, do it on the lowest setting so that the seed you lay down can easily reach the earth. Generously spread the seed around your yard in an even fashion. (While some people swear that seeding by hand is best, a seed spreader can do the job without leaving any area unseeded.) Make sure that your lawn gets plenty of water (by rainfall or sprinkler) until the seedlings sprout and their roots have time to take hold.
Edge Those Garden Beds and Walks
Edging your sidewalks and your garden beds is one of the quickest ways to give your yard a pickup and make everything look nicely maintained. The soft spring soil makes this an easy task.
Using a garden spade or an edging tool, cut about two inches of turf away from your garden beds and walkways in an even line. (If there are curves in your beds, follow them, but keep the same distance between bed and lawn all the way around.) This will keep your grass from invading your garden beds or creeping over your walk, which can make even a well-tended yard look messy.
Prune Your Trees and Bushes
It’s a lot easier to trim in the spring before the trees and bushes regain their summer glory of leaves, so get your pruning shears ready. Clip back any sucklers from tree trunks and prune away any dead limbs or branches.
Once you’ve tackled the trees, look at your bushes and give them a little bit of attention to make sure that they’re shaped the way that you prefer. You can maintain their shape throughout the summer much more easily if you start early.
That’s it! That’s all of the essential prep you probably need to do to your yard right now. Once you’re done, of course, it’s time to get out the gardening catalogues or visit your local nursery and start plotting out where you intend to display your annuals or plant new perennials so that you have the bright, beautiful garden and yard of your dreams.
If you’d like to get help with your yard, check out our preferred Home Services vendors.