Warm weather is finally here and your yard is crying for a little attention. Here are some tips for making your yard happy, while still giving you a little time for an afternoon in the hammock.
Before you even go outside, get your tools cleaned up and sharpened. No one wants to get motivated to do a project, and then have to run to the hardware store for a new spark plug or to sharpen a blade. With sharp and clean tools, you will work smart instead of hard.
For general landscaping maintenance, walk around your yard to see if there are any obvious problems. Then grab a rake and remove leaves, dead annuals, anything that will impede new growth. Spread a thin layer of about ¼ inch of aged compost everywhere to encourage healthy grass. Loosen the surface of any bare spots about 3 inches deep, level the soil with your rake and spread grass seed and compost over the bare spot. Tamp it all down and water liberally and often.
Make sure that you pull any weeds and other dead plants and cut down old foliage, making sure that it ends up in your compost pile. (Click here to find out how to create a compost pile.) Take your freshly sharpened pruning shears and cut away broken limbs from trees and spring-blooming shrubs. Get a jump on the summer by trimming summer-blooming shrubs and roses so that they can grow healthy once they start blooming later in the growing season. Here’s some more information about pruning.
If you have trees, shrubs sprouting bulbs or perennials, put two to three inches of mulch around their base. Good mulch will include compost, shredded bark or recycled rubber mulch, which works especially well around trees and shrubs. This helps to maintain soil moisture, discourage weeds and keep the soil healthy with beneficial soil microorganisms.
Aerate your lawn with a soil conditioner product like LazyMan Liquid Soil Aerator which is fortified with microorganisms that aerate the soil so roots can grow better. It’s as easy as screwing on a hose and spraying. Do not fertilize your lawn until after you have mowed for the first time. Limit your spring feeding to ½ pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn. (A 20 pound bag of fertilizer containing 5 percent nitrogen is equal to one pound of actual nitrogen.)
Once your current plants and lawn are squared away, start looking at what new plants you want to include. Remember to consider how much time you want to spend maintaining the plants before you spend the money and time to install them. Create harmony with sections of color and texture by planting annuals and perennials in groups of three, five or seven plants. Make sure you pay attention to how much light and room your new plants need.
Once the plants are in the ground, soak the ground thoroughly and keep the them watered until they are comfortable in their new home. Don’t forget that adding a brightly colored object like a chair, bright ceramic vase or even a freshly painted wheelbarrow or bike is an easy way to add color and interest in your yard.