Spring is FINALLY here and with it comes a few things you need to do to get your home ready to enjoy this year!
Winter can leave your yard and garden in need of a little (or a lot) of TLC. Before you jump in and start working, however, you should first check your yard and garden tools to make sure they are in good working order. Clean, sharp garden tools will not only make your job easier, but your tools will last longer. Keeping your pruners and loppers clean and sharp is must to keep your plants healthy.
Spring is also the time to perform general maintenance on your lawn mower. If you have an electric mower, maintenance can be as simple as cleaning and sharpening your lawn mower blade, and cleaning the underside of the mower deck. If you have a gas lawnmower, you’ll want to also change the oil, air filter, and spark plug. Not that handy? Consider a professional tune-up to keep your lawn mower working at its best.
The Grass Can be Greener on Your Side of the Fence
A lush, green lawn is the foundation of any home landscaping project, but if left uncared for, the lovely expanse you bought into may soon be infested with ugly weeds. But you can fight back. The best way is to stop worrying so much about the weeds, and start worrying about the grass. A lawn with lots of weeds is trying to tell you something.
First, if you haven’t followed a regular thatching and aeration schedule, now might be the time to start.
Next, most lawn experts swear you can shade out most weed growth by mowing to a uniform height of at least 3 inches. Any shorter, and it lets too much light hit the soil, encouraging many types of weed growth.
Spring and fall are the best times to feed your lawn, but serious weed infestation is an excuse for a summer sprinkling. Fertilize enough, but not too much. Use a fertilizer with a high percentage of controlled-release nitrogen to provide a slow, steady nutrient supply. Water infrequently and deeply. If you water too little, weeds adapted to drier soil thrive. Provide infrequent, deep soakings—about one inch a week.
Hand-weeding is still the best defense if weeds haven’t spread too far. Pull annual broadleaf weeds while they’re young—before they flower and seed. Once the weed is out, promptly reseed the bare spot; otherwise, new weeds will fill it in.
There are several household items, including cornmeal, vinegar, vodka, soapy water and hot water that reputedly kill weeds on contact, some by drying and some by burning. You can also cover your yard with newspaper, blocking the sun. Add water to create a mulch. If weeds begin to grow in the mulch, add more layers of newspaper. As the paper smothers out the weeds, it will also feed your lawn.
Use herbicides as a last resort. There are broad based herbicides that basically kill every kind of plant except for grasses. Instead of spraying the whole lawn, try spot-treating isolated weeds or weedy patches to minimize environmental impact. Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants, gloves and safety goggles during application.
Eventually, good lawn habits can become like second nature. If taken care of, the lawn will provide you and your family lush, carpet-like softness for all of your outdoor events.
Don’t have time to do it yourself? Ask me for suggestions of lawn care companies that can take care of your lawn for you. Then the only thing you’ll need to do outside is relax!
Divide and Conquer Your Yard
Not sure where to start? Here are a few yard and garden tasks to tackle in spring:
- Remove broken branches, dead annuals, and any old fruit from last season
- Rake leaves and small twigs from lawns and garden beds
- Pull weeds now while they are small and the roots are shallow
- Trim and prune trees and shrubs as needed (except for spring blooming shrubs). If you have questions about what and when to prune, ask your local garden center expert
- Transplant any perennials now before they begin to leaf out
- Repair raised beds and trellises
- Clean out pots and planters
- Spread out organic mulch to keep weeds from germinating
- Add compost (organic plant material and/or animal manure) if your ground is workable and not too wet or frozen
Is it Time to Plant Yet?
Although some people like to weed and prune, for many of us the real joy comes from planting and then watching our plants grow. While it’s tempting to buy lots of flowers and vegetables and get them in the garden as soon as we have a few sunny days, I’ve lived in Colorado too long to risk planting prior to Mother’s Day in May. Every year I want to risk it, and almost every year we get a late snow that makes me glad we waited! Some years we even get snow after Mother’s Day so plan accordingly and know you may have to replant again even if you do wait.
Other Spring Home Maintenance To-Dos
Outside Your Home
- Power wash decks and patios
- Clear gutters and downspouts of leaves and other debris
- Inspect roof for missing, loose, or damaged shingles; get repairs as needed
- Wash off outdoor furniture
- Spruce up front entryway – change the welcome mat and clean outside décor
- Check grill hoses and clean the grill to prevent grease fires
- Check propane in grills and outdoor heaters
- Replace storm windows with screens
- Wash windows including the sills
- Wash outside walls, fixtures, and fences
Inside Your Home
- Flip mattresses and wash mattress pad covers
- Replace HVAC filters
- Replace smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries; if your detectors are over 10 years old or are starting to discolor, replace the entire detector
- Shampoo or steam carpets and rugs
- Dust ceiling fans
- Vacuum clothes dryer vents and hoses
- Sort through cabinets and donate unwanted stuff
- Wash curtains and replace them if you just can’t stand to hang them back up again
- Reseal any grout lines if needed
- Looking for a printable checklist to go through and deep clean your home for spring? Check out this great list here
Enjoy Spring’s Many Wonders
- Jump in a rain puddle
- Make a bird feeder
- Find a ladybug
- Fill a vase with tulips or other spring blossoms
- Visit a farm and pet the baby animals
- Eat a chocolate bunny
- Buy a new hat
- Make a strawberry shortcake
- Shop at a farmers market
- Plant some flowers, vegetables, or herbs
- Take a hike among spring wildflowers
- Go fly a kite