Now that your yard has shaken off winter’s grip, it’s time to get your yard and garden ready for peak growing season. Use these spring garden clean-up tips to set up an amazing outdoor space this year. With this guide, you’ll save yourself the headache of forgetting important steps for a healthy, thriving garden and yard!
1. Take Seasonal Inventory
Work smarter, not harder, by assessing the inventory of supplies you have. There’s no use in getting your hands dirty when you don’t have the right garden tools or your tools are in poor condition. Here’s a quick checklist of spring garden clean-up tools you should have.
– Garden gloves
– Sturdy rake
– Yard Waste Bags
– Trowel or Shovel
2. Tune-up Your Equipment
There’s nothing worse than planning a day of yard care only to realize your equipment isn’t working. Sharpen and disinfect blades, oil up your tools, and make sure to do some lawn mower maintenance before you start trying to cut the grass. Do an oil change and check the air filter and spark plug. Gently lift your lawnmower to one side and pull out any old grass or debris in the blades: unplug the spark plug first, and always proceed with caution! Fill up on fuel and try to keep your mower warm before using it; a cold mower requires more patience.
3. Rake Well in Spring
Before you tackle any other spring clean-up tasks, you should get your yard thoroughly raked. Even if you raked your garden well in the fall, it’s likely that dead grass and other debris, also known as thatch, has built up a layer that could soon start hiding pests and bacteria. The raking process in spring can also help you spot and troubleshoot any patches of dead grass that need additional grass seed, fertilizer, or fungal treatment.
4. Mowing Your Grass
Before you rev up your mower, make sure that your grass is ready to handle a cut. Wait until things have dried up a bit after the spring melt, and give the grass a good chance to grow long enough. Cutting your grass too short can lead to more weeds and weaker grass. Time out your mowing schedule to cooler times of the day: you and your lawnmower will thank you!
5. Consider Aeration
While not always necessary, aeration can be a great way to give your spring garden and yard a boost. Generally, aeration is best done in late summer or early fall, but sometimes your soil gets too compacted from winter snow and needs a bit of help to get grass to grow well. If you already aerated in the fall, you can generally skip this step. There are a few aerating solutions out there, from renting an aerator to purchasing aerating shoes that strap onto your feet!
6. Start Composting
If you don’t already compost, now is a great time to start. Composting is easy to start and can reap huge rewards for your garden. Start collecting appropriate organic matter and find a method that works well for your lifestyle. Scouting out a great location for your compost bin is a good idea while working on your spring clean-up. If you have an existing compost system, now is a good time to check to see how it’s faring. Assess if it’s too wet, too dry, and make sure the compost is healthy.
7. Prepare Garden Beds
Look over your garden beds for any noticeable damage that needs to be addressed immediately. Check for any rotting wood or infestations. Pull up weeds and invasive roots. Top up the soil, add compost, and turn. Before you start planting, make sure it’s the right time for your plants; every plant has a different tolerance level for soil temperature and frost.
8. Spring Pruning
Pruning should also be a part of your spring garden clean-up. You should always check to see what each individual plant’s pruning needs are. The most urgent pruning tasks are removing anything dead, diseased, or damaged. Shrubs and trees that flower or fruit can be pruned back a bit to promote better production. Spring-blooming, non-fruiting trees and shrubs should be pruned immediately after they finish blooming, so keep your pruning shears at the ready!
9. Divide Perennials
If you have summer-blooming perennials that need to be divided, spring is a great time to take care of that. Anything that blooms after mid-June can be divided in early spring for the best results. Dividing perennials is a way to thin out and relocate existing plants. Sometimes perennials grow too much and get crowded or, you may just want to spread out your plants for added beauty and convenience. Once you see signs of growth in spring, dig up the entire plant and root system. Gently untangle the roots and shake off excess soil. Inspect the plant and use a clean, sharp knife to divide the roots into sections, ensuring each new plant “baby” has a healthy root system. Try to replant at a similar depth to where you found them.
10. Start Looking Ahead
Our last tip for working smarter, not harder, when working to clean up your garden this spring is to take this time to plan ahead! Get proactive by scheduling your weeding, watering, and other late spring and summer garden care tasks.
If you’re looking for garden supplies and inspiration this spring, come visit us! We’d love to help you strategize to have your best gardening year yet.