Prepping Your Yard for Summertime
Do the first few warm spring days have you chomping at the bit to work in the yard? That’s a good thing, because the sooner you begin prepping your yard for the summer season, the more lush and attractive it will be. If you’re not really sure about where to start, here are 8 helpful tips from local landscape and horticultural expert Sean Newton!
1. Clean up your yard: If you never got around to raking up the last bit of leaves last fall, now is the time to do it. Survey the entire yard for broken branches and plants or shrubs that did not make it through the winter. In addition to picking up debris, raking can benefit your lawn too. Running a rake over the lawn to gather debris also “fluffs” the grass, thereby helping to aerate it, which in turn can help the soil to warm faster and prevent fungal diseases.
2. Know what you’re cutting: Before you cut anything back, you should get educated about when the bush will bloom. Forsythia, for example, blooms in early spring, so it should not be pruned until after the blooms have died back. Bushes and shrubs that do not bloom until July, however, can be cut back in April.
3. Control your crab grass: It’s important to deal with crab grass early in spring if you want a lush, green lawn this summer. If you are going to be using a product such as Scott’s 4 steps, it’s also important to get that first step down as soon as possible.
4. Know your soil: Many people tend to overwater or over-seed their lawn because they don’t know anything about their soil. To learn your soil’s pH, (which helps determine, for instance, how much lime the lawn needs) you could always bring a sample to your local Cooperative Extension. The resulting information will indicate where the soil falls on the acidic to alkaline spectrum. If you have never done this “most overlooked” element of lawn care at the beginning of the season. After the initial test, repeat every five years for a safe base.
5. Fertilize carefully: Fertilization must always be done correctly to maintain a healthy lawn. Using an organic fertilizer, such as Espoma is great because it will not harm or burn other plants. If you do apply fertilizer on a very hot day, be sure to water properly to avoid burning your lawn. A good, healthy lawn needs about 1 inch of water every week depending on weather conditions.
6. Dethatch it: If you want to thin your lawn a little bit and make way for new growth, consider dethatching it. Thatch is a buildup that occurs between the green matter and the soil — too much can prevent new grass growth altogether. A vertical cutter can help thin out the thatch by cutting slits into the lawn. For best results after using the machine, rake up all cuttings (do not leave them on the lawn) and then fertilize or reseed.
7. Mulch Properly: With mulch, less is definitely more. Putting down a cardboard layer underneath mulch can help squelch weeds trying to poke through. Since cardboard is biodegradable, this is a wonderful option. Most people are too heavy-handed with mulch, while the deep color of mulch might look nice piled around a tree or bush, too much can literally strangle your bush. Piling mulch around the base of trees and bushes makes them unable to absorb the nutrients they need and prevents osmosis from working efficiently. To avoid this, after applying mulch, always go back over the area and brush back any that has accumulated near the base of a plant or tree.
8. Use experts: There’s many things you can do to improve the aesthetics of your exterior, but to maintain a healthy and affordable lawn it’s best to hire the experts. There’s no need to be frustrated year round as a business-owner or home-owner when it comes to your lawn. At Newton Outdoor Services we work hard to keep your yard looking its best year round. Click below to get your free estimate today!