10 Tips to Prepare your Landscape for Spring
Updated: Apr 18
Spring Cleanups are a time honored tradition among gardeners, as an excuse to get outside after the long winter months. If done right, a spring cleanup prepares your landscape for summer. If not done your landscape can get out of control very quickly! By following these steps you will save yourself from headaches further down the road.
First things first, all your perennials will need a good haircut. Most perennials can be cut back right to the base. However some perennials need to have some growth left behind, such as the woody Russian Sage. At this time you will also want to remove any remaining weeds.
Most of your shrubs and trees will benefit from some light pruning also. Remove any dead, damaged, or diseased branches.
After performing these two tasks, your beds will need a thorough raking. This will remove any debris that has allotted in your beds over the winter. This material is great to add to a compost pile if you have one! Otherwise dispose of it properly to help prevent the spread of any potential disease.
Edging all your landscape beds helps clearly define the line between the landscape and lawn. This prevents the turf from growing into the mulch too. Edging adds definition to your landscape and gives it a well maintained look!
Just as we always benefit from proper nutrition so can your plants. A 1-2″ application of fresh compost around all your plants can mean the difference between a lush, vigorous plant and a plant that struggles to thrive through dry, hot days. You will want to apply it prior to installing fresh mulch or if you like the look use it as your mulch!
Pre-emergent weed control is a life saver! It won’t eliminate all your weed problems, but it sure makes a difference. Pre-emergents act as a barrier to any weed seeds existing in your beds by preventing them from germinating. Apply this prior to installing fresh mulch in the spring. You can benefit from this process up to 3 times throughout the summer.
Along with edging, mulch helps create a defined and well maintained look to your landscape. No more than 3″ of mulch should exist throughout your plantings. If there is existing mulch you may only need to top dress with 1-2″ every spring.
Occasionally, mulch will begin to build up around your shrubs, trees, and foundations. It is important to remove all this old mulch prior to installing new so that you don’t exceed that 3″ maximum. Allowing the mulch to build up creates an environment conducive to insects and disease, it also ties up the nitrogen in the soil preventing your plants from being able to use this essential nutrient.
Why is mulch so important? By applying mulch, you will help minimize weed growth, help with moisture retention in the soil, and regulate the ground temperature.
Spring is a perfect time to plant too. With the temperatures still at a comfortable level, plants are able to adjust to their new environment with minimal stress from heat and drought. It is also a good time to divide and transplant any existing perennials that have become overgrown. Move them to another area of the landscape or give them to a friend!
This is a great guide for all you DIY-ers out there. Don’t have time to garden, but want to have your landscape in tip top shape? The professional crews at Bluegrass are equipped to service all your spring cleanup needs! Call today for a free consultation.