It’s cleanup season and it’s time to get going on your yard. A good tidy up will get it ready for summer and any planting that you plan to do.
Follow this checklist for your spring yard cleanup.
1. Don’t remove dead plants too early:
A green rule of thumb is that you should wait until the daytime temperatures are consistently above 10 C for at least seven consecutive days.
If you cut dead plant stems too early, it will disturb them before new plant stems emerge.
Another reason to wait to clean up your garden is pollinators, such as butterflies, bees, and wasps, which spend the winter in dead plant material. If you remove dead material too early, you risk destroying these pollinators. Most flowering plants need to be pollinated so they can reproduce. Put the cut stems loosely in your compost to allow bees and other insects to emerge.
2. Pick up dead leaves, waste, and debris
Before you start the cleanup, be sure to check your tools and equipment, such as your lawnmower, rakes, hoes, spades, garden hose, to make sure they are in good order.
You’ll likely be picking up winter and fall leftovers such as litter, broken branches and twigs, and dog feces.
Rake up any dead leaves to let your lawn breathe. During winter, the soil in your lawn is compacted and pressed down due to snow and ice.
You can buy or rent a lawn aerator, which will perforate the soil with small holes, allowing air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots and produce a more healthy and vigorous lawn. It can also be done manually using a pitchfork.
After aerating your lawn, you should spread a thin layer of peat moss over it with a rake. This helps prevent thatch (bits and pieces of dead grass above the soil), disease and weeds.
If you have weeds, you can start to pull them up.
Remember that you can compost your yard waste.
3. Fill in bare patches
Weeds will quickly fill up a bare patch or you can end up with a rut in your lawn. You should fill the bare patch with some topsoil and then scatter grass seed over the area and rake the patch, but not vigorously. You can also spread a thin layer of compost over it. Be sure to water daily.
4. Don’t give your lawn a major haircut right away
Don’t mow too early. Wait until your lawn dries out to avoid damage. Don’t mow until your grass is at least five centimetres tall and you shouldn’t take off more than a third of its length to prevent it from dying before it’s had a chance to develop.
5. Fertilize your lawn
It’s generally recommended to fertilize your lawn after you have mowed it to allow the fertilizer to be absorbed.
But if you decide to fertilize and then mow your lawn, you should wait to mow for 24 to 48 hours after fertilizing your lawn.
You should also leave the clipped grass on the lawn because they help hold in the fertilizer and provide organic nutrients to complement the fertilizer.
6. Tidy up flower beds
Push any heaved plants back into flower beds with a shovel or the base with your foot or use a shovel to replant them. It’s also a good time to fertilize your flower beds.
Remember not to plant until you are sure all the frost is out of the ground. That’s usually around the May long weekend.
7. Do some pruning
Prune any tree or shrub branches that were damaged during the water. Prune them back to live stems.
For spring-Flowering trees and shrubs, you should prune them in late spring right after they finish blooming.
8. Replace and paint worn wood.
Remove rotted or damaged pickets, boards, or lattice. Then clean wood structures with soap, bleach, and water. You do some patching with wood epoxy.
Freshen up your deck or fence with a new coat of stain or paint.