Preparing your Lawn and Landscape for Spring
With the current lack of snowfall and mild temperatures here in Central Indiana, you might have started to see signs of life growing in your landscape. Daffodils and daylilies starting to sprout, buds on trees looking plump and ready to explode into beautiful foliage or even wildlife that would typically be in hiding until warmer days arrive. No one really knows what the remainder of winter will bring us, but it’s March – that time of the season to start planning for your spring lawn and landscape projects. Here are a few tips to get your lawn and landscaping ready for spring.
- Even though your lawn has been dormant since November, now is the time to finish cleaning up all the leaves and fallen limbs that you didn’t get to at the beginning of winter. Large quantities of leaf debris can cause lawn areas to die out due to lack of sunlight and excessive moisture.
- Lawn aeration is important to allow roots to properly breathe – this stimulates deep root growth. Make sure the ground is not frozen so you can pull the deepest core of soil to the surface. Always aerate first before applying a pre-emergent herbicide so you don’t break the barrier that the pre-emergent herbicide creates.
- Check your lawn fertilization equipment to make sure it’s operating correctly. If you have this completed by a professional, make sure you’re on their list to get the pre-emergent herbicide. This is important to help fight off the pesky crabgrass that arrives in the early summer.
- Fertilize! Fertilizing can be done with scheduled pre-emergent herbicide application, but remember – your plants are coming out of dormancy and they’ll benefit from some extra nutrients too. A 10-10-10 composition mix of fertilizer, or something similar, sprinkled around your trees and shrubs will soak into the ground and provide a boost to the color and overall health of plants.
- Check your trees and shrubs for damaged limbs or branches that might be overcrowding other plants, gutters or building structures. Also, look to prune plants that might be too large for a given space, to allow air and sunlight into their interior.
- Cut back any remaining expired perennials and dormant ornamental grasses. Grasses do provide some winter interest, but as we get closer to spring, it’s good to cut them back to at least three-quarters of their original height. Watch out for any creatures nesting in them after you have cut them back. Geese and ducks love to settle down in fresh-cut ornamental grasses in the spring.
- Take a look at your mulch. Hardwood mulches are beneficial to plants by providing nutrients as they start to decompose. Excessive mulch, however, has a harder time breaking down, and causes mold and runoff during spring rains. A good rule to follow is to always have between two and three inches of mulch cover in your beds to help suppress weeds and protect plant roots from drying out. If you do have thicker mulch in certain areas, remove it first before applying a fresh cover.
- Dream about the possibilities for your yard and landscape space. This is a great time to consider the outdoor projects you’ve wanted to complete for so long. It might be a patio or maybe a gazebo for shade, or perhaps a fire pit for cool evenings to enjoy with friends and family. Maybe this is the year to get that outdoor kitchen you’ve always wanted. Now is the time to start planning these projects and searching for a professional company who can help make your dreams a reality.
Get the year off to a good start by going through these steps so you’ll gain time this spring to tackle other to-do projects you’ve been putting off, like decluttering your garage or painting the trim on your house.