Today is the first day of Spring! While it may not feel like spring in many places that are still covered in snow, the snow is going to soon start to disappear.
The bright, yellow blooms of the Forsythias I am hoping are not too far off, as many say that when the Forsythias are in bloom spring is here to stay.
I’ve already got my spring garden prepared using odd containers I keep around the house. That’s only one step for me getting ready for the spring season.
Cleanup of my yard takes top priority this time of year and it should be on your list as well. While spring is my favourite season of the year it always starts out looking pretty yucky.
The mud and wet dull looking grass as the ground starts to thaw and reveals of all the garbage and debris that has sat under the snow all winter. A good cleanup of your property and some early maintenance will set you up for a better growing season.
Spring Cleaning Checklist
Mr. CBB has a great list of spring cleaning chores and a good list of reasons for maintaining the outside of your home as the spring season begins. While his lists include many of the spring cleaning chores inside your home he also mentions a few good ideas for giving the outside of your home a simple facelift.
Early spring maintenance
A good spring cleanup of your gardens and lawn is a smart way to save yourself some yard-work later in the year. By taking a preventative approach rather than having to backtrack and fix things that should have been done at the beginning of spring conquer at the start.
If you burlapped any bushes or plants on your property once the temperature is consistently above 5 degrees Celsius you should take it off.
If the burlap is left on once it warms up it can cause the plant to sweat causing stress to the plant. Plants that experience any stress are often more susceptible to pest damage and disease.
Raking up any leaves and plant debris that has been hidden under the snow will not only help to make your property look cleaner but also removes any plant debris that may harbour disease.
A rake can also be used to clean up any debris that may be in or around shrubs including any leaves, broken branches and garbage.
You can easily store any leaves in your compost bin to break-down which would be great for the soil and save you some money.
You may need to use your hands to get right into the centre of some plants to remove the debris but that is part of the job so get used to it as a homeowner unless you plan to hire someone to do the job.
I have customers who hire me to come to their home every year in Ontario to help get their property on the go for spring, summer and fall. For various reasons they are unable to and landscaping services is what I specialize in.
If you’d like me to come take a look at your property because you have landscaping needs or if you would like a quote send me a quick email to Mr.CBB and I’d be happy to help you out.
This is also a good time to remove any annuals that you may have left in your flower beds from the previous year. Waiting until the grass has dried up considerably to rake the lawn is best to limit how much you are contributing to compacting the soil.
If you can also avoid walking on your grass until it has dried up as it will also help to decrease compaction. Aerating your lawn also helps to reduce compaction though you will likely have to call in a landscaping company to have this done unless you own an aerator.
If you are lucky you might have some door-to-door sales people come knocking who will aerate your lawn for about $20 depending on the size.
Any leaves and plant debris can be added to your compost pile.
Use a sharp pair of pruners or loppers depending how big the diameter of the branches are to cut off any winter-kill on shrubs and roses. Cutting off any dead, dying or diseased branches will help to encourage new growth.
If you have any climbing roses you can cut off the thicker, older canes to encourage new growth of younger canes that you can train to climb. Now is the time to get this started so you can sit back and enjoy the beauty during the blooming season.
Any perennials that were not cut back in the fall can now be cut back to the ground. You can also cut back any ornamental grasses although you shouldn’t cut them right to the ground. By leaving an inch or two it will ensure that you are not cutting the crowns which will kill your grass.
Summer-blooming shrubs such as Weigela and Viburnum produce their flower buds on new growth so they should be pruned in the spring.
Cutting off any winter-kill and thinning out some of the inner branches will open up the shrub for better air circulation when the shrub buds and leafs out. Air circulation throughout the shrub can have an impact on the health and susceptibility of the shrub to pests and disease.
Spring-blooming shrubs such as Spirea and Forsythia should not be pruned until after they have finished flowering. If you prune them back in the spring you may not have any blooms as you will be cutting off the flower buds that grow on old growth from the previous year.
If you are planning to replace the mulch in your gardens this year stripping the old mulch off in early spring will be one less thing you have to do before planting your spring gardens.
You can spread the new mulch once you have done your planting. If you remove mulch add it to your compost bin or start one if you do not have one.
Why pay for compost to turn into your garden when you can make your own. A good layer of mulch, about 2 inches deep, will help to stop or slow down the growth of weeds in your gardens as well help to hold in moisture and regulate soil temperature.
Turning the soil in your flower beds with a garden fork helps to relieve compaction, improve drainage and at the same time you can improve the nutrients and minerals in the soil but adding some compost.
When your soil is compacted it not only affects how well your soil will drain but also how air, nutrients and minerals reach the roots of your plants.
The bursting yellow blooms of the Forsythias are a good indicator that you are safe to put down grass seed. Rough up any areas that are bare and level the ground with a garden rake.
You may want to top dress the area with some fresh topsoil before you lay down any grass seed. I recommend this for larger areas to promote ideal growth.
Once your spring bulbs begin to emerge from the soil providing them with some fertilizer will not only help to ensure you have long-lasting blooms that year but also feeds the bulb for next year’s growth.
A spring application of fertilizer on your lawn gives you a much better chance of having less problems with weeds, pests and disease. A healthy lawn is your best defence against weeds and other pests.
As the perennials in your flower beds begin to emerge from the soil it is a great time to take a look at your property to see what plants you can thin out. Such plants as hostas, day-lilies and grasses can be divided and transplanted to fill any holes or bare spots in your gardens.
You will save money by getting your plants for free or you can sell them on sites like kijiji or give them away on freecycle. Don’t wait to post the ads as the sooner the plants get back in the ground the better for the plant.
What is Snow Mold?
Snow mold is a fungus that will show up in your lawn once the snow has melted if you have been affected by it.
Snow Mold may damage or even kill your grass so it’s important to recognize it right away.
As soon as the snow melts in spring if you see circles in your lawn that are anywhere from 3 inches to 12 inches in diameter you most likely have snow mold.
These circles can sometimes be hard to see because if you have a lot of this mold the circles often blend together so that you may just see large patches.
Snow mold is found in areas that have cold winters where the ground is consistently covered with snow. There are two types of snow mold that can attack your grass Pink Snow Mold and Grey Snow Mold.
Pink snow mold is the more severe of the two with the potential to kill the roots and crowns of the grass in your lawn. Grey snow mold typically does little damage to the roots and crown of the grass rather it affects just the blades of the grass.
Snow mold is able to survive throughout the summer although you will only see it after the snow melts. During the summer it may live in any leaves or plant debris that may be hanging around on your property. Severe snow mold may need a fungicide treatment to kill off the unwanted pathogen.
How to prevent snow mold
Snow mold pink or grey has the ability to show up in any variety of grass while Kentucky Bluegrass and fescue varieties seem to be least affected by it.
Regular cutting and raking of your grass will help to prevent snow mold from showing up in your lawn. Cutting your grass in the fall right before the first snowfall or even if there is a light dusting of snow on the ground is a good idea.
The more surface area of grass that you have when the snow falls the greater the chance that your grass may become susceptible to snow mold.
Community spring cleanup
Join your community for a spring cleanup
The garbage left behind on the sidewalks, parks and parking lots once the snow disappears contributes to the yucky look of saying goodbye to winter.
Many cities and municipalities have organized cleanup days to get a group of people together to clean up as much of the garbage as possible in one day.
If you are interested in helping with the cleanup of your city or town look into whether they have an organized event. If you find they do not possibly consider creating your own with friends, family and neighbours.
I have a long strip of grass that runs along the road between our house and our neighbours that collects garbage all summer that people decide they no longer need in their car so they chuck it out the window, on to my property. Thanks!
The kids and I walk this strip many times throughout the summer so after the winter come spring time we are guaranteed to walk with a garbage bag in hand. We do our part to keep our community clean, so give it a try to be proud of where you call home.
Are you getting prepared to give your property inside and out a good spring cleaning?
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