Every year at about this time Bergen County homeowners get the itch to go outside and work in the yard. The air smells fresh, the birds are chirping, and the daffodils, hostas and other spring bulbs have started to poke through the debris of one of the strangest winters on record.
Now that the warmer weather seems to be here to stay, it’s time to get the ball rolling on your spring clean-up for your lawn and garden. Here are a few tried and true tips that will help your property along as the plant life wakes up from its winter sleep.
- Start by taking a rake to the leaves that managed to get on your lawn over the winter and pick up any sticks that fell during the heavy winds we saw in February and March. The early winter weather that we experienced in late October has no doubt left branches dangling over your lawn, so if possible try to knock them down using a pole saw.
- Be sure to trim down back any ornamental grasses that didn’t make the cut in the autumn, as well as any withered growth from last season’s perennials. Also yank out that stalwart chrysanthemum that spent the winter under a frozen ground.
- Landscape professionals agree that the secret to a healthy lawn is dethatching, so don’t overlook this crucial spring clean-up task. Dethatching your lawn is the process of freeing up old thatch (dead grass, mud, moss, other debris) that is blocking new growth from the moisture and oxygen that it needs. It’s best to use a power rake for this task, but using a regular iron rake and a little elbow grease will provide the same results. Don’t be afraid to get aggressive when scuffing up your lawn, but be sure the leave enough old growth to ensure a flush of new grass once the thermometer starts to rise.
- When turning your attention to your gardens, remove the dead leaves and other organic items and run a wire rake through your flower beds to give them a fresh look.
- Use a shovel, spade or edger to make a fresh edge around all your plantings. Not only will this create a clean finish to your flower beds, but will create a barrier that prevents the mulch from washing onto the lawn after it rains.
Once the hard work is done, it’s time for the fun part! Pick up a few bags of mulch, preferably a dark, Cedar mulch, and give your gardens a fresh, polished look. In addition to improving your property’s curb appeal, re-mulching your garden protects your roots throughout the season, prevents weeds from growing and holds in the moisture during those hot summer days.
By reacquainting yourself with your garden in early spring, you will lay the groundwork for a successful growing season. As your property flourishes in the coming months, you’ll be thankful you followed these few simple tips during your spring clean-up.
This article is written by Andee Dixon, Residential Maintenance Specialist at Jacobsen Landscape Design and Construction, Midland Park, NJ; www.jacobsenlandscape.com