Spring Has Finally Sprung!

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Whether you are planning on selling this spring or just want a great looking lawn here are some tips for making your lawn a show stopper!

Spring sure has taken it’s time this year. We are all eager to open our doors, rub our eyes and begin the outdoor activities! This includes our lawn maintenance. We all remember how we prepared our lawns and gardens for the brutal winter weather, all the while thinking it would lead us into an easy spring beginning. I must tell you fall is not the only time of year for yard maintenance. Alas, there is always maintenance and cleanup work to be done in the spring to give you a radiant lawn and gardens.

Tip #1: Doggy damage

If you own a dog walk round your lawn and survey the effects the “winter” has had on your property. Clean up their messes and check for any severe burnt grass spots. In most cases of doggy spots, the grass will recover. If the damage is bad, re seeding or sodding of the areas may be needed.

Tip #2: Wait to reveal your garden’s covered bushes.

Do not uncover your bushes until the danger of a heavy frost is over. When you do uncover them, clean away any soil or other organic material that was used to seal them in for the winter. This material can carry disease spores that can infect your plants. While the plants are still dormant, you can improve their health and vigor with these selective pruning steps:

  • Remove any blackened, dead or damaged wood.
  • Prune the cane down to healthy wood, just before a leaf bud.
  • Remove any branches that may be crossing, that are twiggy, or are growing out of the side of a cane.
  • Remove old canes at the bud union and leave 3 to 5 good ones that are evenly distributed.
  • Delay mulching around the plants as this will keep the soil cold and delay the growth of the bushes.

Tip #3: Lawn aeration while the ground is still moist from the snow is always recommended.

Do this late March and into April, depending on your winter it could be late April early May. When the plugs get removed from the lawn it allows air to enter the soil, therefore allowing air to reach the roots of the grass. When the core plugs break down and dissolve back into the soil, they infuse the soil with rich nutrients that your grass roots enjoy

Tip #4: A slow-release granular fertilizer is the best choice for spring.

The best time to apply it is when soil temperatures have reached the optimum temperature of 50 degrees or above consistently (for more than 7 days). Keep in mind soil temperatures tend to lag behind air temperatures in the spring. The air temperature could be 70 degrees but the soil temperature might be 40 degrees. You can check online with your local farm bureau or cooperative to find out when soil temperatures have reached ideal levels for fertilizing and reseeding.

Tip #5: Check the remaining aspects of your landscape for damage, growth progress, and needed improvements.

Check your woody landscape plants for injury — particularly the evergreens. Do not be too alarmed if you do not see new growth. Wait until the buds have opened before removing any dead branches, unless they are broken. Take the same “wait and see” approach with perennial plants. Remove any mulch that was placed there to protect them. Some plants take a longer time to come out of winter dormancy than others do. If scale insects or tent caterpillars bothered your landscape plants last year, then you should consider spraying with dormant oil before the buds open. This material will smother the egg cases or over-wintering adults.

Tip #6: Let your lawn wake up on its own.

Homeowners tend to apply “green up” type fertilizers to wake their grass up while still dormant. This is a mistake, your grass will use up all of its energy that it has and pull as much nutrients as it can find just to wake up. Your lawn will now need to consume that much energy and nutrients on a regular basis in order to maintain it. Give it a watering first, and then after about 2 weeks, apply fertilizers.

Spring is a time of regeneration and reawakening from a long winter’s sleep. It is a time to set up your yard for a splendid summer. The fresh air of spring can do much to revitalize you as well as your gardens. Spend some time investing in some proactive lawn care and you will be rewarded with a healthy and more vigorous landscape.

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