We’re getting our first hints of warmer weather, and the first Spring rains will begin to wash away the accumulated “yuck” of Winter soon. It’s time to start thinking about Spring gardening and Lawn care again, so here are some tips to help get you ready this season.
Start With a Clean Up
Before you can do anything with your gardening beds and containers, you’ll need to do a thorough yard clean up. Melting snow can reveal debris that you might not have even known was there. Clean up any trash that might have made its way into your yard over the winter months, along with any fallen branches or damaged lawn decor. Landscaping rocks have a habit of making their way into beds and lawns over the winter, usually with some help from snowblowers or plows. Make sure you pick these up and return them to their place to avoid damage to lawnmowers and other lawn tools later on.
Make Sure Tools Are In Working Order
Now is a good time to give your lawnmower, trimmer, leaf blower, etc. a tune-up. You should also inspect hand held or non-power tools for broken parts, rust, or other signs of damage. Replacing or servicing these before you actually need them can save you a headache in the long run. If you think you’ll be in the market for a new mower this year, try to hold out for holiday-based sales events like Memorial Day or the Fourth of July.
Tackle Pruning Projects
Early Spring is the best time to prune many trees, shrubs, and even large ornamental grasses in your garden. Grasses will benefit from a “hair cut” before the new growth starts to emerge. You should prune trees as close to the trunk (or an intersecting joint) as possible without causing any damage to the surrounding area. While Spring pruning is generally a good idea, there are some plants that you should not prune until later in the season. Species that bloom in the early Spring months, like Lilacs, Forsythia, and Rhododendron, should be pruned after they finish blooming in the late Spring. Otherwise, you risk cutting off flower buds which will decrease their amount of Spring bloom. If you want a guide for when to prune specific plants, Better Homes & Gardens has published a useful one here.
Prep Your Yard and Garden Beds
Even though it’s likely too early to plant yet, you can prep your lawn and garden beds for success. If your yard is looking a little beat up from winter, identify spots that will need seeding. You can also apply fertilizer if necessary – just make sure to follow your fertilizer’s instructions for timing and application. You can also clean up garden beds, prep the soil, and apply mulch if needed. Now is also a great time to add weed barriers if you will be using them.
Start Your Garden Indoors
There are many plants that can (and should) be started indoors during the early Spring months. There are specialty seed starting tray and containers that can be used. These are designed to be planted, container and all, when it’s time to move your seedlings outdoors. You can also make your own from recyclable materials you have around your house. Toilet paper or paper towel rolls, egg shells, and small paper cups can all be used – there are many more ideas on the internet. There are a few plants that prefer to be started outdoors, and can be planted early, before the typical last Spring frost in or area. If you’d like a planting chart for common veggies, The Farmer’s Almanac has published one here.