Winter weather can leave your landscape looking somewhat shabby. Even though it's a little early for planting in many areas of the country, spring cleaning can begin as soon as the worst of winter is over and the snow clears. Get things done now so that you'll be ready to plant when spring fever hits.
Late Winter Cleanup
Once the snow starts to melt away pick up any sticks and branches that fell during winter. Rake up any leaves still lying around from the fall.
If you live in a cold climate where evergreen shrubs are typically wrapped in burlap for the winter, it's safe to unwrap them now that the coldest weather has passed.
Prune off any brown branches on your evergreens.
Remove any dead annual or vegetable plants that may have been left in the ground over winter.
Now is the time to cut back any perennials that you didn't get to in fall, before the new growth starts to appear.
This is also a good time to prune many types of trees and shrubs while they are still dormant and the branches aren't covered with leaves.
Once the soil dries out a bit, it's time to prepare beds for planting annual flowers and vegetables.
Pull up any stakes, plant tags, drip irrigation lines or other objects left out from last year.
You may also wish to rake out last year's mulch from your flower beds if it is looking old and discolored. Old bark or leaf mulch make great additions to a compost pile. Add fresh mulch around perennial plants any time before the spring growth starts. New plants can be mulched later, just after planting.
Spread a fresh 1 to 2-inch layer of planting mix or compost over the soil. Planting mix can be left on the surface and planted directly into. For vegetables, however, it's always best to till to a depth of 6-8" in order to thoroughly mix the old and new soil. (Unless you're planting into raised vegetable beds, such as those with wooden sides.)
Spread slow release fertilizer, compost and other soil amendments over your perennial beds before the plants emerge. No need to till these into the soil, just cover the beds with fresh mulch later in spring to help with water conservation.
Tips for Garden Tools
Gas-powered equipment such as lawnmowers, string trimmers, and blowers can be tough to start after they've sat idle for the winter.
Tune-up Gas Powered Lawn Equipment
|1. Drain & Replace Gas||2. Replace Air Filters||3. Replace Spark Plugs||4. Sharpen Blades|
Sharpen Cutting Tools
|Hand Shears||Grass Shears||Loppers|
Local hardware stores and small equipment shops typically offer spring tune-up and sharpening services, though they book up fast as spring approaches. Get an early start and make an appointment now.