Preparing your yard and garden for spring

Many look forward to spending time outside with loved ones in their yards as spring arrives. It is a time of year when we start preparing our outdoor spaces for the upcoming warm seasons. Here are some tips to keep in mind before the new growing season.

Remove the remnants of winter

This can include removing grass clippings, leaves, bushes, tree and shrub trimming, and animal waste. It is also essential to check whether the branches of trees or bushes are not damaged or weakened by wind, cold or snow and, if necessary, cut them. Cleaning up the leftovers of winter will make your yard look neater and make it easier for your grass to breathe and grow. 

In the wake of the winter melt, compost heaps may become damp and soggy. To avoid excessive moisture, use a pitchfork to turn the compost pile every two weeks until it reaches a moist but not wet consistency. Include all of the clippings, leaves, and mulch from the prior season in the compost heap. To expedite decomposition, shred or chop branches and leaves into smaller pieces, or supplement the compost with a compost starter. 

Ensure that your flower beds contain compost before commencing planting. This will result in more crumbly soil that nurtures your plants. Additionally, eliminate any weeds encountered during the process. Consider planting shrubs, trees, and resilient perennial flower borders at the beginning of spring. However, postpone planting delicate perennials and annuals until the frost has dissipated.


Must-do landscaping tasks

Take action on dead patches of grass on your lawn, mainly if caused by your dog. Begin by clearing away the dead grass, then use a hand rake to loosen the topsoil slightly. If the area is generally sparse, aerate it with a garden fork. Next, distribute grass seeds over the patch and blend them into the surrounding grass. Cover the area with a thin layer of soil and gently pack it down to assist the sources in contacting the ground. Apply a light fertilizer coating and carefully water the region, remembering to water it daily if it doesn't rain until the new grass is firmly established.

If you plan on planting trees and shrubs in your yard, it's recommended to do so during spring. This will allow them to establish robust roots and acclimate to their new surroundings. Ensure that they receive regular watering and that a good layer of mulch is applied over their roots to regulate soil moisture and temperature. 

Spring presents an excellent opportunity to plant perennial flowers that promote pollination, such as coneflowers, gentians, marsh marigolds, obedient plants, red trilliums, wild sweet Williams, asters, black-eyed Susans, butterfly weeds, Canada goldenrods, Canadian white violets, columbines, and wild bergamots. 


Don'ts for early spring gardening and lawn care

Although many plants need pruning during this season, it's only advisable to prune early-flowering species such as lilac, forsythia, viburnum, and quince once they're done flowering. Pruning them now is not harmful but will remove some buds, resulting in fewer flowers. 

Avoid pruning your elm trees to reduce the risk of Dutch elm disease. It's recommended to prune these trees between the end of October and the end of March to minimize the risk as much as possible. 

Also, avoid working on soil that is excessively wet or frozen. Treading or carrying out activities on the ground that is still thawing or saturated with water can lead to compaction, so it's recommended to wait until your garden and beds have dried out before engaging in any work. 

Only plant your favourite annuals or delicate perennials if you're willing to cover them every night until the last frost has passed. However, you can begin hardening off plants during the day.

It's not advisable to cut your lawn too short, even though it might be tempting to do so to remove the dry and dead parts. Allow your grass to grow before mowing it, and wait until it reaches a height of around 3 inches.

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