Landscaping starts up in the springtime. The weather is warm but not too hot, so the time is right to get outdoors and enjoy the work you like doing in the yard. The snow and winter storms may be over but there's lots of debris around the yard, and nothing looks as good as it did last summer. Don't despair … it's the same every year and with a little work, your lawn and gardens will return.
There are added bonuses to gardening – getting more exercise, enjoying the outdoors and some fresh air. If you're not wild about gardening, you might want to hire someone else to take care of your garden or lawn maintenance which can be challenging to keep up week after week. When you get outdoors, you're also likely to notice storm damage from the winter and maybe you'll need a handyman to help with repairs.
… Contributed by Susan Wade, co-owner of Wade Landscaping in Rollinsford, NH
Spring is a special time of year when we all like to get a fresh start and watching how the green in our yard grows greener each day, reminds us that every living thing has a cycle. These landscaping and gardening tips will help you get started. If you've got some favorite tips, things you do every year, please share them below so everyone can benefit.
Cleaning Up Debris
Start by getting rid of the debris that accumulated over the winter and don't be surprised if you find more as our weather patterns change and we have unusual wind and snow storms.
- Natural debris will include sticks, twigs, pine cones and leaves that fell after you cleaned the yard last fall. You may find that some of your shrubs didn't survive the winter.
- Debris from home damage may include roofing shingles or small pieces of shingle material, a gutter or downspout torn off by the wind, and things from your neighbor's home.
- Other items that can't be avoided are sand from city plows or clumps of dirt uprooted due to shoveling.
Pruning Your Shrubs
Spring is when you prune and shape many of your plants, although some are done in the fall. If you haven't created a spring pruning checklist, now might be a good time to do this. List all your shrubs and plants with 2 extra columns and check which off when they need attention, spring or fall.
- Routine pruning should follow the shrubs' blooming habits, i.e. evergreens and hedges should be pruned as they begin new growth. For shrubs that bloom in the summer or fall, you want to prune in winter and shrubs that bloom in spring should be pruned after this years blooms begin to die. It's a good idea to create a gardening schedule that reminds you month-by-month what plants need your care and add to the schedule as you grow your garden.
- This is the perfect time to check your trees for broken and dead branches which you'll want to remove or you'll be picking them up all summer.
While mulch offers good protection over the winter, as the ground thaws, you want to remove the mulch over your perennial flowers so they can breathe. Once they have pushed up (so you know where they are), you can add compost and/or mulch around them to help retain water and reduce the weeds. Remember to hold the mulch back several inches from tree trunks. It generally needs to be warmer before you can plant most flowers which is why flowering trees and shrubs are so important to bring color into your yard as it gets warm.
Depending on where you live, you can start planting some vegetables. For those needing warmer temperatures, you can start them indoors or build a small frame hot house to keep them warm outdoors.
First you want to pick up the debris that might hurt your equipment, although a bagger or collection system will get smaller pieces. After watering the lawn, you can dig out dandelions and other deep rooted weeds. It's also a good time to aerate your lawn and apply fertilizer. As the the weather gets warmer, you'll want to grow the grass taller to resist the heat better.
- This is a good time to clean up lawn edges along walkways and flower beds.
- Your local weather will influence the type of grass you have, as well as the fertilizer and other care. You can discuss with the experts at your local garden center or research this topic online. A good article, Tips for Growing Green Lawns at about.com is a good place to start.
Pests are a natural part of the gardening experience so don't fight it. Check your plants periodically and it they don't look right, find the garden pests or resulting damage and take samples to your local gardening center.
Clearing Hard Surfaces
To complete your spring landscape maintenance chores, you should sweep hard surfaces (decks, patios, walkways and your driveway) or use a leaf blower to speed the job up. You want to remove any clippings that found their way onto these surfaces during your hard work above.
To help your landscape reach its full potential, you may want to consider a maintenance regiment that includes aerating, over seeding, fertilization of your lawn several times, a spring de-thatching, or the application of mulch in your flower beds or other landscaped areas. Kid safe mulch is available for play areas and under swing sets.
Share Your Best Garden & Landscape Tips Below
While everyone enjoys getting outdoors once the weather warms up, you may want to enjoy this time playing with your children or relaxing with friends. Why not pick those chores you enjoy doing, and let a professional landscaper tackle the others, to give yourself the leisure time you deserve.
Susan Wade is co-owner of Wade Landscaping & Property Maintenance LLC, along with her husband Brian. They offer a full compliment of landscaping and winter maintenance services throughout the New Hampshire seacoast, and pride themselves on delivering “old fashioned customer service.