It’s that time of year. Tree and shrub buds are starting to swell, bulbs are emerging, and grass blades are starting to stand on end. The following are some start to spring basics any proud yard owner should consider.
MOWERS: Get your machine tuned, belts checked and oil serviced. Most importantly, sharpen or get your mowers blades sharpened. Aside from your lawns appearance being much nicer from grass blades that are cut by sharp blades rather than ripped by dull ones, your grass stand will remain healthier due to having less ripped/open wounds caused by dull blades. If you have a company mowing your lawn, inquire as to the frequency their machines blades are sharpened. Ideally, every day or every other depending on acreage cut is ideal.
PRUNING: Again, sharp tools are a must for clean cuts, ease of work and health of the plant. Spring is usually the big prune job your yard will see. Be careful not to cut flowering shrubs like azaleas and rhododendrons heavily until after they bloom if you want to see their fullest color potentials.
BEDS: If your bed area has been kept up, handweeding is a good start. For those beds that have not been kept up and look more like an extension of the abutting lawn area, a nonselective spray herbicide containing glyphosate, then a seven day wait will save time. Care should be taken not to spray leaves of desirable plants with this type of herbicide.
After existing weeds are addressed, bed edges are ideally cut/trenched and those excess cuttings removed to crisply define the edges and minimize excess mulch build up on bed edges. At this point, a pre-emergent weed control should be applied to minimize existing weed seed germination to these bed areas. These are available in both chemical and organic forms. Chemical formulations have been more effective in our experience but either is better than nothing at all.
MULCH: This is kind of like the paint and carpet when rehabbing a house. You did all that prep work for hours, days, or weeks seeing moderate progress and then BANG, the paint or carpet or mulch goes down and the whole place takes on a fresh new look. A one and a half to two inch layer of mulch to existing beds is ideal. Three inches for new beds. Like anything, too much mulch is not good. The mentioned rates will moderate soil temperatures, retain moisture and minimize sun exposure to the soil, greatly minimizing weed seed. Also important to avoid is mulching up against the bark of trees, a bad habit known as volcano mulching.
From Randy Marcucci, of Green Acres Landscaping