Take the time now in spring to clean and spruce up your yard and garden and it will pay off down the road. Now that the snow has melted and buds are popping, you’ll also notice the ground is soggy and brown. To help it become a glorious green plush grass later in the season, you’ll need to invest a little time now to ensure a beautiful lawn, garden and curb appeal later in the season. Here’s some tips to help:
Homes with high curb appeal command higher prices and take less time to sell. Before you go to the expense of replacing siding, wash the winter dirt, mildew and grime off your home’s exterior. I seems simple enough and this task will go a long way in increasing your home’s curb appeal. Remove storm windows if you use them during winter, give screens a good scrub down. Inspect your gutters and remove any debris. Give your deck a good wash down and clean any outdoor furniture, pots and hanging hardware. Now it’s time to put on the garden gloves and take a walk around your yard and garden. Last year’s perennials such as phlox, sedum, black-eyed Susan and purple coneflower are probably looking a bit rough. Using clean, sharp garden shears, cut them to the ground to allow for new growth. Spring is the best time to tidy up shrubs and vines that will blossom from this year’s growth. Some plants will benefit from an spring pruning; Campsis Radicans, Clematis such as Sweet Autumn Clematis, Clematis Terniflora, the Jackmainii types and the Viticella varieties are just some. Reserve a lighter spring pruning for shrubs such as Buddleia Davidii, Smoke Bush Continus, Spirea Douglasii, Hydrangea and Rose of Sharon Hibiscus. Remove any winter mulch that you’ve protected your beds with by carefully raking them off to allow the soil to warm up more quickly. Toss the leaves or mulch into the compost heap where they’ll turn into rich compost that you can use in the fall.
A spring tonic
Feeding your plants a spring tonic means more blossoms and healthier plants come summer. The best tonic for plants is compost. Its nutrients are released slowly, giving your plants a steady supply of food all season long. If you don’t make your own, many communities offer compost to residents for a small fee. Topdress your flower beds with a thin layer of compost, working it around, but never over the crowns of your perennials and shrubs, using a three-pronged cultivator or garden trowel. This is also a good time to fertilize roses and rhododendrons. Use a fertilizer specially formulated for these flowering shrubs, preferably a slow-release type that gradually adds nutrients to the root zone of the shrubs. Roses also benefit from a topdressing of well-composted manure which is readily available from nurseries each spring.
The finishing edge
Once you’ve freshened up your home, garden and yard with cleaning, pruning, clipping and topdressing it’s time for the finishing touch. A sharp, clean edge between your flower borders and the lawn looks tidy and fresh. Using a lawn edger, dig a shallow trough along the length of the garden. The trough will act as a physical barrier to keep water in and grass out.
Most important of all, enjoy the outdoors and fresh air.