Design Tips

Spring Cleaning Checklist for Yards

Words by
Gerardo L.
Mar 14, 2022

Old Man Winter’s departure beckons the arrival of spring bringing with it warmer weather and a bounty of new growth in our landscapes. Although many associate spring cleanings with sprucing up our homes, now is the time to also put some energy into pulling our yard back into shape. This not only makes the area ready for your outdoor enjoyment but goes a long way in preventing potential problems in the future.

Most yard spring cleaning chores can be accomplished in a weekend, which cuts down on work once the new growing season springs into full action. Continue reading because we go over some of the main things you should consider tackling as the rebirth of spring time arrives.

Clean Up Leaves and Debris

Many trees especially deciduous ones drop their foliage during the winter months leaving a mess over the lawn and in garden beds. Fallen leaves and debris over the lawn can smother new grass growth, as well as prevents sunlight from reaching it. It’s best to remove the debris before your lawn resumes growing. Leaving the mess in place can also promote problems with disease and pests.

Wait until the grass is dry and frosts have left your area before raking so you don’t accidentally damage or pull up new grass growth. Rake up all the fallen leaves over the yard and inside any garden beds. You’ll also want to pick up any fallen sticks and branches, as well as any dog waste gifts left in the yard. Either place the leaves and rubbish in bags to be removed with the weekly trash or place the leaves and sticks in a compost bin.

Pruning Trees, Shrubs and Perennials

After cold weather has left your region now is the time to survey any winter damage to your trees and other plants and prune off the damage sections. Trim off any dead or damaged branches from your trees, cutting back to healthy wood. Removing the damaged areas guarantees they’ll be looking their best as they produce new growth. When pruning, make sure to use clean pruning tool blades so you don’t transfer an unwanted pest or disease to your plants.

If you had perennials that are still alive and thriving like coneflowers or ornamental grasses, now is the time to give them a trim. Trim the present growth down to around 5 or 6 inches. This cleans them up and they’ll look a lot better once their new growth resumes.

When it comes to your shrubs you only want to remove any dead or damaged wood from those that flower in spring. If you prune too heavily on these shrubs, you’ll lose the new season’s blooms. Wait until they finish their flowering display to do any serious pruning.

However, if the shrubs bloom later in the season like summer, you can remove any dead or damaged wood, as well as trimming them into shape. Since they flower later you don’t have to worry about losing any blooms.

Repair Your Lawn

Spring is the time to pull your lawn back in shape. In warmer regions turf grass usually starts to grow in March, whereas those living in cooler locales can expect new growth to resume sometime in April. Now is a good time to revamp any damaged or dead spots by reseeding or installing new sod. Remove the dead areas, apply a thin layer of compost or well-rotten manure and install the new sod or grass seed. Just keep the area moist while the grass germinates or the sod roots in the soil.

Spring is the time forgetting the upper hand on weeds like crabgrass before they have a chance to take root and invade your lawn. Use a pre-emergence herbicide safe for use on your particular turf grass and apply according to label directions.

Once your turf grass has grown around 5 or 6 inches tall you can resume mowing. Don’t mow too early or chop the grass down too low. Both can damage the grass and weaken it. You can also apply your first dose of fertilizer in spring.

Get Your Flower Beds in Shape

Before weeds take over your flower beds, now is the time to remove any unwanted growth. You can pull out any weeds or grasses as you rake and remove leaves. If you decide to use an herbicide, just be sure not to get any on your desirable plants. Don’t apply in windy conditions or if rain is expected.

If you have clumping perennials growing like Hostas, now is the time to dig them out and divide into smaller clumps. Trim any wayward branches that are encroaching on walkways, entryways or other areas.

Pull thick layers of mulch off and away from plants if you piled it up to protect plants from frosty and snowy weather. It’s also a good time to freshen mulch. You can either rake up and dispose of the old mulch and add new or add a new layer on top of the old. Just be sure to keep it pulled back several inches from the plant’s base to prevent problems with disease.

Feed your plants in spring time. You can either spread a layer of well-rotted manure or compost over the soil or use a commercial fertilizer. Just be sure to follow label instructions on amounts and water in well after applying and spray off any that got on the foliage to prevent burning.

Add New Plants

Once spring arrives and frosts have left your area, it’s a good time to add any new annuals, perennials or trees to your landscape. Flowering annuals or perennials add a blast of color to flower beds, borders and walkways. Even adding them to pots can add color and texture to patios or the entryways into the home.

When adding new plants in the landscape just be sure to plant them in their preferred conditions to promote healthy and problem-free growth. You’ll also want to consider the mature size and give them the needed room to spread without interference.

Clean Up Hardscapes

The warm weather of spring finds us using our outdoor spaces that were abandoned during winter’s cold. Clean any patio furniture you have so it’s ready for use .Depending on the dirty mess, you can usually clean furniture with a solution of soap and water and little scrubbing. If things got moldy or mildewy, using a solution of chlorine bleach, soap and water will usually bring things back to a sparkling clean.

Sweep off walkways removing any trash or debris and put gravel or mulch back into the beds. If the porches or concrete walkways became dirty over winter, it’s a good time to clean them. Using a power washer makes quick work of eliminating dirt from hardscape areas and even the walls of your house.

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