Spring Yard and Garden Tips
The snow has finally melted and the bulbs are starting to peek through the ground. It is time to get your yard and garden ready for the upcoming growing season. Here are some tips on what can be done to get your yard and garden looking its best!
Take some time to walk around your yard and look around. Look for any broken branches, plants that may have not came back, areas of fences or other hardscapes that may be damaged or anything that may not be as you left it in the fall. Now is a good time to get these repaired or replaced before summer gets too busy!
Out with the old, in with the new!
Before your plants get too much growth on them, clean up any old stems and leaves that have decayed over the winter. This is an important time for getting your plants ready to grow. Removing the old leaves and stems not only makes that plants look better, but it also allows room to grow and provides air circulation.
Pay special attention to the type of plant. Some plants send new growth on the old wood, such as hydrangeas and you will need to be careful when and how your prune these in the spring. Certain perennials are more delicate than others and need to be hand pruned instead of pulling gently on the decayed debris. Plants like irises have a fragile bulb, so I will use my pruners to properly dead head the old leaves. Now, is also a great time to divide fall blooming perennials such as daylilies and hosta. Keep in mind if they bloom in the spring, divide in the fall.
Prune any dead branches off your shrubs and trees and trim to give them a good shape. Avoid trimming any shrubs or trees that will be blooming in the spring, because if you prune now you will trim off the future flower and it will not bloom this year.
Get rid of the old leaves that have managed to find their way to nooks and crannies of your house or garden. Be careful to postpone raking until the lawn has had a chance to fully dry and the soil temperatures to increase, so you do not damage your grass and its roots. Remember to give bird baths a good scrub to get rid of any bacteria and sediment.
Dethaching and Aerating, feel the breeze...
Thatch is found when you dig down into your lawn about 2 to 3 inches. If you find a thick layer of dead grass and organic matter then it is important to have your lawn dethatched. Dethatching will allow water, nutrient and air to circulate to the grass roots. Dethatching can be done in the fall or spring but doing this at a cooler time is preferred so damage and stress on the lawn are decreased.
After time, soil is naturally compacted and makes it harder for lawns to absorb the things they need. When this happens, your lawn may start to look thin or just not as good as it can look. Aerating is when small holes are inserted into your lawn. This service helps water, nutrients to be better absorbed and for air to be able to circulate to the grass roots which will help prevent thatch build up. Aerating has many benefits including encouraging thicker turf and deeper root growth, reducing soil compaction, reducing thatch and water runoff and many more. Aerating can be done every year and will help you lawn to be healthy and seeding at this time will help promote an even thicker lawn.
A simple test for your lawn is to stick a trowel or screw driver into your lawn. If you see a large buildup of debris consider dethatching and if you feel the ground was difficult to insert these tools into, then consider aerating. However, don’t let your lawn get to these points because your lawn will be stressed and will suffer in quality and appearance. f you don't feel comfortable dethatching yourself, we offer this as part of our spring clean up service.
Shrubs, flowers and trees, Oh my!
Yes it is one of the best times to start planting! My favorite part! For annuals, I do wait for the traditional Mother’s Day to get them in the ground or containers or when the final frost has occurred. I love getting these ready especially after a long winter and find planting pansies in a container is a great way to get your fingers dirty and add color now, until the temperatures are warm enough for the rest of the annuals. I will also plant new perennials or replace other plants that may have died over the winter. Before I pick out replacement plants, I will inspect the area and try to figure out why it died. Too much water? Lighting conditions? Winter damage? Bunnies? Try to replace plants wisely and have fun!
Here at Yale Creek Seasonal Care we try to plant shrubs, trees and perennials that will continuously rotate in bloom. There are tons of fantastic plants that will flower and bloom at certain times of the season and we try to incorporate them throughout the landscape!
I have found a couple good ways to prevent bugs (or at least decrease them). Here in Minnesota, we have a lot of boxelder bugs that can become a problem in sunny areas and I like to start treating things early in the spring and continue throughout the summer. This year, I am using a method I felt was effective in the past, right before a good Spring storm I go around the house and squirt DAWN soap on the siding and near the foundation of the house (especially where eggs may be present). I will also dilute it by mixing DAWN and water in a squirt bottle and spraying around house and landscape beds. Boxelder bugs do not like the oily soap and I find this method is more pet friendly. I will also use an insecticide called BugMax 365 around the perimeter of our home. This product works great and I have found it really helps control the issue. This can be found at home stores including Ace Hardware.
Lay that Mulch Down!
By adding mulch, landscape areas look finished and clean. Not only is mulch aesthetically pleasing, but it adds benefits to the landscaped areas. Spring is a great time to get your yard mulched so it can look good the rest of the summer! Choosing the dyed mulch will keep your color last longer into the late fall.
Start fertilizing when active growth of shrubs and perennials becomes apparent. We like to put down Preen and Green, which helps prevent weeds when they are seeds and is a balance fertilizer of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash (9-12-9).* While I am walking around my landscape beds and sprinkling the Preen, I will pull any weeds I see already established. If weed are already a problem, consider using Round-up when the soil is completely dry. I will also add a liquid fertilizer or some fish emulsion to my perennials at this time and throughout the summer so they have enough energy to start building their blooms!
My tip when planting new plants is not only try to choose the best plant for your soil and light conditions, but to add some peat moss as a soil amendment and a fertilizer called Miracle Grow Quick Start to help prevent transplant shock. I will add another dose of Quick Start a week or two after I have planted and will monitor the plant to make sure it is receiving adequate amounts of water.
Mice, Moles & Voles...
These critters can wreak havoc on a yard in a very short time! Over the winter, home owners will start seeing signs of their trails in there grass and landscape bedding. Sometimes these look like tracks running all around and sometimes they look like mounds popping up from the earth. We have both in our neighborhood and found a good preventative is a good fall clean up. We cut our grass short in the fall which decreases the amount of plant growth the critters have to munch on. If you have this issue now, keep that in mind this fall!
Now voles/moles… they are also tricky. We are trying a method that may look silly, but I have heard it drives them crazy. We are putting children’s pinwheels in our landscape to create a natural vibration that we hope sends them burrowing into another location. I placed ours on a mound that was already raised and will be curious to see what will happen in the upcoming weeks!