Updated: May 20
There’s something about spring that just invigorates us. New growth and budding blooms give color to our world once again, helping us shake our winter blues, and the warmth of spring and longer days provides encouragement to be more active. Use this energy to give your yard a much-needed spring clean-up!
REFRESH THE GARDEN
You have to hand it to your garden, it just survived the below-freezing temperatures of a Lehigh Valley winter. After it has had time to thaw, it’s time to refresh your garden with a well-deserved facial. Spring is the perfect time to re-apply soil amendments. Mulch will help to retain moisture in the soil as you head into the heat of summer. Organic matter, or compost, will nourish your soil with nutrients and beneficial microorganisms. Other fertilizers, while not always necessary, can help to rejuvenate struggling plants and provide fast-growing annuals with an abundance of nutrients.
BRING YOUR LAWN TO LIFE
When yellow blades of grass finally start to peep through, you might be thinking that they looked much better covered in snow. But with your help, your grass can be green again in no time.
Lawns will instantly look much tidier after you rake up any fallen leaves and debris from the winter. Raking also helps to remove thatch - the deadened, crusty material that lays on top of your soil.
Overseed your lawn if the grass looks thin and seed any barren areas by hand. Remember, seeding works best when it’s simply dispersed on top of the soil and not buried into the ground.
You can start cutting your grass when it has reached a height of 2 inches tall. If it’s already tall, avoid mowing more than a third of its height off in one single cut. Cutting grass when it’s too short, or cutting too much off at once, damages its roots and leads to an unhealthy lawn.
Like your other plants, grass could use a pick-me-up after surviving harsh winter conditions. When there aren’t enough nutrients in the soil, grass won’t grow. Fertilize your lawn in the early spring to give it kick-start on growth, and again later in the spring to keep it energized and healthy all summer long.
PRUNE YOUR PLANTS
This is one of the most important things to check of your spring to-do list. While novice gardeners might be hesitant about cutting back their beloved bushes, it’s a key step for encouraging new growth and healthy plants.
Timing can be a tricky task. Pruning before the last hard frost leaves your plants exposed for damage, while waiting too late can delay the blooms. Here are a few tips to help you figure it out:
Summer-blooming trees and shrubs, like rose of sharon and many hydrangeas, bloom on new wood. Prune these plants early in the spring, allowing ample time for new branches to grow.
Spring-blooming trees and shrubs, such as forsythia, azaleas, and viburnums, bloom on last year’s growth, or old wood. Prune these plants later in the spring, after their flowers have fallen off.
Remove any dead or diseased branches at any time, as they’re a welcome mat for more disease. Replace any plants that didn’t survive the winter, according to their specific planting recommendations.
DIVIDE YOUR PERENNIALS
Perennials tend to grow in a clumping habit. As the clump gets larger, the centre starts to die out, and the plant suffers. Division involves uprooting your perennial, and cutting the core into multiple smaller plants. Not only does this revive the original plant and encourage more blooms, but you can also replant the divisions, gaining new starter plants for free!
While necessary, division can be stressful for our plants. This minor operation becomes a lot more taxing when they’re already enduring a harsh winter or hot summer. They cope with division best in the cool, moist conditions of spring, when their roots are full of energy and they have the entire summer to recover.
OTHER OUTDOOR PROJECTS
When it comes to cleaning up the yard, of course our precious plants are priority number one. But once they’re taken care of, general maintenance and other outdoor projects should be next on the list.
Now is the time to repair any winter damage done to fences or other structures. Refresh your patio by removing any peeling paint and giving it another coat of stain. Make it a pleasant and welcoming place by hanging up your outside lights and breaking out the BBQ.
Spring is a busy time for our gardens as we help our plants come back to life and prepare our yards for enjoyment during the summer season. With a little bit of effort, your yard will be looking immaculate in no time!