Spring cleaning is a tradition in which we clean our house, wash the windows, gut our closets and generally organize our lives. And the garden is no exception! After a long, cold winter, here’s how you can clean up your yard:
Restore your Garden
As the temperatures slowly start to rise above 0 and the days get longer, our garden begins to wake up from its winter hibernation. After taking some time to thaw out, it’s a good idea to do some restoration and repair, to make your garden lively again.
The winter has likely washed away soil amendments from the previous year and brought some damages of its own. Re-apply mulch around the base of your plants. This will help protect their roots from the sun and retain soil moisture as you head into the hot summer months.
Soils will likely be deprived of nutrients, as their stores were drained to keep your plant alive during the winter. Mix organic material into your soil to help restore nutrients that will help your plants grow. This will also enrich your soil with microorganisms to keep your soil healthy in the long run.
You may also consider synthetic fertilizers. While they don’t supply microorganisms, they do provide plenty of nutrients to help jump-start the growth of your plants, especially fast-growing annuals.
Add Life to your Lawn
There’s nothing more unappealing than the sogged, muddy, yellow lawn left behind after the snow melts away. But there are a few things you can do that will help speed up the coming-back-to-life process, leaving you with a fresh, green lawn in no time!
First of all, you need the sun and air to be able to get to each blade of grass! This means raking up any leaves or debris that have been left around. These materials effectively smother your lawn, ensuring it remains yellow until fall. Raking will also help loosen up the soil and remove layers of thatch. Overseed your lawn if it appears thin, seeding heavier over any bare patches.
Many people struggle with the appropriate time to break out the lawnmower. While your lawn likely isn’t growing at a fast rate in the spring, you can start cutting it when it reaches 2 inches in height. Never cut more than one-third off of grass at a time. Cutting it too short or too much at once will expose the soil to direct sun, and likely damage the roots.
Like other plants, grass needs nutrients to grow – most of which have been sucked up already to survive the cold and snow. Applying some fertilizer to your lawn in early spring will give it the kick-in-the-butt it needs to start growing again.
Prune your Trees and Shrubs
Not only does pruning tidy your trees and shrubs up visually, but it also plays a vital role in keeping them strong and healthy. Pruning encourages new growth, and therefore encourages bountiful blooms when done at the right time:
- Prune summer-blooming trees and shrubs in early spring, since they will bloom on new wood.
- Prune spring-blooming trees and shrubs later in the spring, after their flowers have faded so that you don’t miss out on any of this year’s blooms! They bloom on old wood so pruning before they bloom won’t encourage more blossoms.
- Remove and replace any plants that didn’t survive the winter.
Divide your Perennial Plants
Perennials are plants that will bloom year after year, without needing to be replanted. However, they can only keep that up for so long, before they start to become weak at their centre and produce fewer blooms.
Along with the general trimming and tidying of perennials, comes division. Spring is the best time for dividing because the ground is moist and there are few leaves to damage. They also have a long time to recover before they go dormant again.
Don’t worry – dividing your plant is easier than it sounds! Gently uproot the plant and cut the root ball into two or more parts, ensuring there’s new growth on each part. Re-plant one of the divisions, and either discard or re-plant the rest elsewhere. Not only is division a healthy process for your plant, but it allows you to multiply the number you have!
Other Ways to Tidy Your Yard
If the severity of winter took a toll on your property, now is the time to make any repairs. Get other outdoor projects, such as re-staining the deck or hanging up the lights, checked off the list so you can sit back and relax when summer arrives. Don’t forget to break out the BBQ and once it’s warm enough, move any potted plants you have outside to enjoy the sunshine.
Spring is already an important time of year for gardeners. When we finally see life again after enduring the winter, we feel inspired to get outside for some fresh air. What better way to use this time than to clean up the garden and prepare it for the exciting growing season ahead?