The weather in early spring is notoriously unpredictable in the Northeast. Sunny one day, a cold rain the next, even a last-gasp snow shower is not a rare occurrence. But for home gardeners, early spring is the perfect time to “get in the dirt” and tackle their garden and lawn maintenance activities.
Here are the top spring garden and lawn maintenance tips as your yard wakes up for the upcoming growing season:
Clean Up Lawns and Garden Beds
Over the winter months, yards become filled with broken sticks, wet leaves and even litter trapped under the winter snow. March is the time to clear out all that debris from your garden and lawn areas and take away any dead grass to prevent smothering the coming new growth.
Prune Any Damaged Branches
If your trees or shrubs have branches damaged from the winter, now is the time to prune them back to live stems. During your March garden and lawn maintenance, inspect trees and shrubs and prune any broken branches using a hand pruner or a handsaw for branches larger than ½ inch in diameter. For fruit trees, make certain that you finish pruning before the buds swell. Roses can also be pruned now.
Fertilize with the Proper Product
The month of March is the time to think about fertilizer as part of your garden and lawn maintenance activities, especially if your turf is lacking dark green color or is thin. During the winter months, grass and plantings have been missing out on essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and iron. So for strong roots and healthy new growth, you can apply a light, slow-release or organic type fertilizer that won’t burn your lawn. An easy application of fertilizer this time of year will really get your lawn off to a good start. Consult with a landscape professional for assistance in choosing the best types of fertilizer.
Be Aware of Aggressive Weeds
Although March brings new growth to your garden, it also brings lots of weeds. Now is the time to start pulling out weeds, or cultivating them out while the weeds are still young. If you let weeds go to seed, you can be in for a real fight later. Crabgrass and other aggressive weeds typically invade your lawn at the start of warm weather. Crabgrass begins to germinate when the soil temperature reaches 58 degrees Fahrenheit, and this weed can take over quickly. During your maintenance activities, you can apply a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent these aggressive weeds from invasion.
Inspect for Signs of Insects and Pests
As the weather gets warmer, look out for overwintering insects, such as boxelder bugs and Asian lady beetles, and other outdoor pests emerging into your lawn and garden. These pests love to prey on fresh, new growth. In March, talk to a landscape professional about proper pest control and an Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM)that focuses on organic lawn care.
Don’t Forget to Take Care of Your Mower
Finally, if you do your own mowing, March maintenance should include your lawn mower. Taking care of this tool early in the season is critical. Dull mower blades tear up the grass, so make sure they’re sharpened ahead of time. And if your mower needs to be serviced, do it now and beat the rush of other gardeners later in the season.
Whether you require assistance with your spring garden and lawn maintenance or you need season-long care, Borst Landscape and Design has the professionals, expertise and services to fit all your landscaping needs in Northern New Jersey. Contact Borst here.