Natural debris tends to collect over the winter, as well as some unnatural debris in the form of trash, all of which needs to be picked up and thrown away to begin getting the yard looking decent again.
Routine pruning of shrubs and bushes can be done now. For shrubs that bloom in the summer or fall, you want to prune in winter. Shrubs that bloom in spring should be pruned after this yearís blooms begin to die.
Mowing season begins and that means tuning up the mower with an oil change, blade sharpening and a spark plug check. If you canít do it yourself, make an appointment to have it serviced.
The flower beds could use some fresh mulch but not before the weeds have been pulled. Itís important to address the weeds now before they spread. Consider top dressing with compost if your soil needs organic matter. A thicker layer of mulch will suppress new weeds and look great.
If you planted spring bulbs last fall they are probably fading by now. Allow them to die naturally so necessary nutrients go back into the bulb for a glorious bloom next spring. Fill in empty spaces in the beds with cool season annuals like primrose and pansy until perennials take up more space.
Sharpen and clean your garden tools with an electric grinder or a flat file. Start by putting the tool in a vise and make long firm strokes in one direction. When youíve sharpened the entire length of the blade, turn the tool over and rub off any burrs.
If you grow a vegetable garden, now is the time to work the soil and get some cool-season crops in the ground. Radish, carrots, lettuce, onions, spinach and peas can all be planted now for the earliest harvest.
Clean out containers and pots with a little soap and water and disinfect with a mixture of one tablespoon bleach to a gallon of water. They will be ready for plants as soon as the danger of frost passes in mid May.
Try something new this spring by beginning a journal. Use it to keep track of tasks that need to be done and tasks that you have completed. Detail successes and failures you have experienced as a homeowner and as a gardener. Patterns begin to emerge that will be useful one day.
Keep track of birds and other wildlife that visit your yard. Write down the dates trees begin to flower and when the flowers fall. Youíll find that year after year you will return to the journal for information and sometimes just out of curiosity.
Include drawings or photos in your journal that you can refer back to or share with someone else with a passion for being outside and tending to the earth.
The necessary spring chores wonít seem so overwhelming with a journal to use as a guide and a means of motivation. It never hurts to delegate. Spending family time together makes work seem like more fun.
We spend more and more time outdoors and because our lawns and gardens are extensions of our homes and not just pretty spaces to look at, the work required to keep them nice is time well spent.
Published: April 24, 2012