Are You Ready for Spring?
After dealing with so much snow and cold I think we are all ready for spring. Winter is about over and that magical time of year is just around the corner. What things do you need to do before it arrives? Early March can be a hard to predict season. Often times plants, flower beds and grass are still covered with snow and the cold air can still be bitter. What things can you do to prepare for spring?
Some early spring cleanup tasks are sure things this time of year. So go ahead and remove burlap from trees and shrubs as the weather warms. Prune away winter-killed branches to make room for new growth. Cut back spent perennials and pull up old annuals if you didn't get around to it last fall. Take advantage of any warm days to analyze your yard and see if it's time to thin out flower beds, remove old mulch, clean up dead leaves and so on. Here are a few things you can focus on.
1. Trees and Shrubs
Where tree or shrub branches have been damaged by cold, snow, and wind, prune back to live stems; use a handsaw for any larger than ½ inch in diameter. Shaping hedges with hand pruners, rather than electric shears, prevents a thick outer layer of growth that prohibits sunlight and air from reaching the shrub's center. Prune summer-flowering shrubs, but wait to prune spring bloomers, until after they flower. This time of year is a great time to get some basic spring yard maintenance done. Then, as temperatures warm up, you'll be in better shape for seeding and planting.
2. Beds and Borders
Rake out fallen leaves and dead foliage (which can smother plants and foster disease), pull up spent annuals, and toss in a wheelbarrow with other organic yard waste such as weeds. Remove old mulch to provide space for a new layer once the planting season has begun and the cold weather has moved out for good. Trim over hanging plants and shape them back into the flower beds and borders. Dig them up and replant if necessary, making sure you tamp the dirt around their roots. Now is a good time to spread fertilizer on the soil's surface so that spring rains can carry it to the roots. Add a 5-10-10 fertilizer around bulbs as soon as they flower to maximize bloom time and feed next season's growth. Trim overgrown grass around curbing and borders to prevent grass from overtaking your edges.
3. Prep Lawn and Repair Damaged Areas
In colder climates grass starts growing in April, but early spring is a good time to test the soil's pH so that you can assemble the right amendments. Remove turf damaged by salt, plows, or disease to prepare for the seeding or re-sodding that should follow in a few weeks. Work in a ½-inch layer of compost to keep the new seed or sod moist, increasing the germination rate. Begin seeding or sodding once plants start blooming in your area. In warmer climates, March is a good time to add the first dose of fertilizer and crabgrass treatment so the spring rain can carry the nutrients through the roots.
4. Irrigation Repair and Install
March is a great time to work on your irrigation system. In most cases it has not been fired up yet and the water from last season has drained throughout the winter. Take advantage of this time to make changes or additions to your system. Inspect your valves, pipes and heads for breaks or leaks and repair those as necessary. Another great thing to do is add drip system watering to your flower beds. This reduces your water use significantly compared to a spray head and it will actually water your plants more efficiently. Adjust your clocks and get them ready for early spring watering. It is important to keep an eye on the weather so you are not watering during forecasted rain. This technique also helps save water.
Hopefully these few tips are helpful to you as you take on the task of getting your yard ready for spring. There is lots to do when the sun comes out and winter goes away. These few items will help you get caught up and prepared for the spring and summer season. If you have any questions regarding the above items or if you would like to know more about our drip system program, contact Jordan Allen at 801-253-5203 and I would be more than happy to answer them for you. Have a great spring.