If you live in a colder climate, spring can bring the excitement of getting outdoors, enjoying warmer weather, and seeing the yard and landscape come to life. Belowis a checklist to help you get your yard in shape for spring.Inspect your trees and shrubs. Start your spring spruce-up with
a thorough inspection of your yard. Look for any branches that might
be broken or damaged and prune them or have them removed by a
Test your soil. Test your soil once every few years to make sure it has
the proper pH balance and mix of nutrients. You can usually get your soil
tested at your state’s local agricultural extension office, or ask your lawn
care or landscape professional. You can also buy soil test kits at garden
Fertilize. The decision about whether or not to fertilize should be based on
the nutrition requirements of your plant as well as soil conditions. Below
are a few tips on fertilizing your lawn:
◦ Determine your soil nutrient needs through testing.
◦ If your soil does need nutrients, make sure you choose a fertilizer that
matches those needs.
◦ Make sure you fertilize at the optimum time of the year for your variety of
grass. Contrary to popular belief, not all grasses should be fertilized
in spring. A few cool-season grass varieties do better when
fertilized in fall. June is also a good time to fertilize many cool-
season grasses. It’s best to use your state university or cooperative
extension’s recommendations or consult a lawn care professional.
◦ In general, it is best to choose a “slow-release or controlled-release”
fertilizer to reduce possible losses to the environment and increase
nutrient absorption. In certain situations, it may help to use organic
materials which can improve the health of your soil.
◦ It’s important to read the label on the fertilizer bag and to know the
exact size of your lawn. Using too much fertilizer can harm your
lawn and cost you more than you planned. Conversely, using too
little fertilizer won’t yield the results anticipated. Several university
studies show that under-fertilized turf can lead to a thin turf stand
resulting in soil erosion and unwanted soil runoff.
◦ Always follow the label instructions.
◦ Before fertilizing your lawn or plants, always check with the local
agricultural extension office. Some state and local governments
place limits on when, what kind, and what amount of fertilizer you
can apply. Professional, licensed lawn care companies must follow
state, local, and federal regulations.
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Weed Control. Spring is a good time to apply pre-emergent weed control
for weeds such as crabgrass. One indicator is when forsythia is in full
bloom, which tells you it is usually the perfect time to apply crabgrass
Make planting beds neat and tidy. Rake the old leaves and debris,
from plant beds, prune any dead branches and create neat edges around
the beds using an edging tool.
Fertilize trees and Shrubs. Most plants, trees, and shrubs will benefit
from proper fertilization with a slow-release product just before mulch is
Mulch. Add an inch thick layer of fresh mulch in plant beds and around
trees. Don’t let the mulch touch the tree trunk and never let the mulch
accumulate to more than a 3″ depth. Mulch not only makes planting
areas look neat, but also helps to retain moisture in the soil, and it keeps
the roots cool in the summer and insulates them in the winter. As mulch
decomposes, it adds organic matter to the soil.
Inspect your irrigation system. Once the weather has warmed up
for the year, turn on your irrigation system and inspect it to see if it is in
working condition. If you have a landscape company, they can do this for
Check outdoor lighting. Check your outdoor lights for broken fixtures and
have them repaired if there is damage. Reset timers when Daylight Savings time