As the warmer temperatures of spring chase away the winter chill, more Canadians are headed into the yard to enjoy fresh air and nice weather. Get your outdoor living space spruced up for a stellar season with these top ten spring landscaping tips, covering everything from your perennial gardens to grass care, hardscaping and fence posts. Building a landscape for the whole family takes time and maintenance, but with a game plan and some energy, you'll be well on your way.
# 1 - Clean Out the Beds Early
Some gardeners clear out their flowerbeds in the fall, eliminating the risk of critters and lowering the chance of plant disease. But others prefer to leave the garden as is over winter, providing seed heads for the birds and valuable compost in the soil. Either way, you need to clean out the beds as early as possible, to create the ideal growing conditions for early spring bulbs and other flowers.
# 2 - Avoid Crabgrass
Crabgrass can create a pesky problem in your lawn, and spring provides the ideal time to tackle it. Crabgrass killers include pre-emergent herbicides that set into your turf before this nasty weed takes root. About.com landscape experts state that the ideal application time depends on your climate; most areas in Canada should aim to apply crabgrass killers after the forsythia bush blooms and before the lilacs come in.
# 3 - Check Gates and Fence Posts
As the frost recedes, homeowners often discover heaved fence posts or gates out of line. Spring provides a good time to take a look for these issues, as repairs and adjustments can be done now, while the ground is soft and wet. Often a quick adjustment to the hinge or latch fixes a gate, while heaved fence posts may require more heavy-duty repair work.
# 4 - Clean Off Deck Boards or Patio Stones
Give your deck or patio a great start to the season with a thorough cleaning. Pressure treated or cedar wood can be cleaned with deck wash products. The use of a power washer may or may not be necessary. Composite decking, such as Trex, should be cleaned with warm, soapy water and a soft bristle brush to avoid marring the surface.
Patio stones are often more durable and winter debris can be quickly cleaned off with a pressure washer or hard bristle scrub brush. Give your front porch railing a good wash down as well, to brighten up your home and enhance curb appeal.
# 5 - Aerate the Lawn
Aeration helps to maintain strong turf roots and is an essential part of lawn maintenance for mature yards. Plan to aerate your lawn in late spring or early summer, but consider booking your landscaper now. These professionals get very busy in the months to come, and being proactive allows you to rest easy knowing that your lawn aeration will be looked after when the time is right.
Canadian Gardening magazine offers some tips here on how to aerate and what type of equipment your landscaper may use. Dethatching is often done during the aeration process, providing an even better boost for your turf.
# 6 - Pruning
Some trees and shrubs are pruned in the autumn, but many common species will need to be pruned in late winter and early spring. By pruning the top, you are basically forcing nutrients into the roots and lower half of the tree. Pruning while the tree is dormant also allows for faster wound healing and less chance of disease setting in at the pruning site. Always prune away dead or dying branches and remember that thinning out the tree crown results in healthier growth over time.
# 7 - Reseed Bare Patches
Although it is best to seed your new lawn in the fall months, reseeding can be successfully done in spring. Environment Canada suggests using new seed and spreading it uniformly by hand or with a seed-spreader onto your semi-established lawn. Be sure to keep the area lightly watered and cover with a light layer of straw to avoid losing seeds to the birds or wind.
# 8 - Mulch
Spread a generous layer of mulch onto your flowerbeds and around trees. Natural mulches, like wood chips and composted organics, breakdown over time and provide fertilizer for the surrounding soil. Be sure to allow for airflow and avoid burying stems and tree trunks in thick layers of mulch, as this often encourages critters and results in plant disease and fungus growth. Two inches is often sufficient on level ground, whereas three or four inches will work best on slopes.
# 9 - Fertilize the Grass
Spring is also the ideal time to apply a fishmeal or nitrogen-based fertilizer. These nutrients help your grass to start off the growing season well, and the abundance of moisture in spring allows fertilizer to efficiently absorb into the soil. Compost provides a good choice for natural fertilizer and can be lightly spread onto your spring grass. The material must be fully composted and applied when the forecast calls for rain (otherwise, you can also use your hose to allow the compost to absorb into the soil).
# 10 - Clean Your Tools
Give your lawnmower a tune up and clean up before duty calls. Even if you serviced the equipment before putting the mower away for winter, a blade sharpening and oil change go a long way for performance and reliability.
Clean up your garden tools and patio furniture as well. This allows you to take inventory of your tools and plan to restock where necessary. Good quality tools last several seasons, but only when well cared for. Take the time needed to make your landscaping tools last.
Spring is an exciting time of the year to be out and about in the yard. Tackle these top ten spring landscaping tips to ensure your property starts the season well. From the turf to your flowerbeds, patio and gardening tools, everything needs a little attention after the long Canadian winter.Posted by: TrustedPros