March weather in Maryland can be fickle. We might get a snowstorm one week, and…
The threat of frost is just about over and we are starting to see daytime temperatures reach the mid-60’s. Birds are singing every morning, and everyone seems to have a little more pep in their step. I think it’s safe to say spring has sprung!
But now that the sun wakes up bright and early, it’s time to give your lawn a a little wake-up call of its own. Winter can wreak havoc on your grass, shrubs, and flowerbeds. Prepare your landscaping for spring, so this summer you can spend more time relaxing and having fun, and less time doing pesky yardwork!
Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to bring your lawn out of hibernation and get it looking great for this spring!
Out With the Old
This is the perfect time of year to clear out all the leaves, sticks, and other seasonal debris left over from the fall and winter. Dead foliage laying on your perennials or shrubs blocks light and air, so to keep your plants and flowerbeds looking health this year, clear away all the dead and old remains.
Take time before it gets too warm to prune away winter-killed branches on your trees and shrubs so there is ample room for new growth. However, make sure you aren’t pruning your pants if it’s not required. You don’t want to accidentally cut away at new growth or you’ll have a bare spot in your plants this spring.
The branches that are weak or broken should be removed, as well as limbs that are damaged or diseased. Pruning is your way to telling nature that there is room for new growth. Trimming your trees will make your plants fuller and healthier.
Pruning and trimming also allows you to manipulate the shape of your plants and trees. You want to make sure there aren’t any dead branches that will fall on your roof or damage your property. This is also the perfect time to start trimming your ornamental shrubs into your desired shape. Annual pruning and trimming will help train the plant how it should grow.
Reap What You Sow
If your lawn took a harsh beating this winter, you could be left with dead patches of grass in your yard. In order to have a full, lush lawn (you know you envy perfectly green, freshly mowed lawns), follow these steps:
- Rake Away the Dead – Using a metal rake, rake your lawn to remove dead grass and roots to make room for new grass and seeds.
- Aerate Your Lawn – Hard, compacted soil is hard for water, air, and roots to penetrate. Using an aerator, make sure your entire lawn is properly aerated so new seeds and fertilizer can reach rich soil. Check your local hardware store for aerator rentals.
- Spread Seeds – After raking away the dead grass and aerating your lawn, it’s time to plant new seeds. Be sure to plant grass seeds after the daily temperatures are above 60 degrees so they get the warmth from the ground and sun to grow. Generously cover your lawn with grass seeds using a seed spreader.
By taking those 3 steps, you will ensure the grass seeds will be able to grow strong roots. Regularly watering your grass seeds will also help them grown and lock in the moisture using a fertilizer for grass.
Bonus Tip: If you aren’t sure when you should plant grass seeds, check out this Climate Zone Map and Chart to find out the best times of the year to plant grass for your region.
Make Your Bed…
…your flowerbeds, that is. Early spring is the best time to start thinking about your flowerbeds.
In your existing flowerbeds, work in some compost around your plants to fertilize them and remove weeds as you go. If you choose to use a chemical fertilizer, always be careful and read the instructions because it can also kill some more fragile plants. Prepping the dirt for new plants is the best way to ensure that roots will establish themselves and your flowerbeds will look beautiful.
Early spring is a great time to plant trees, shrubs, and perennials (as long as they’re tough). For annuals and tender perennials, make sure you wait until the last frost date has passed your region. Typically, in more northern regions, you’ll be safe to plant annuals closer to Memorial Day.
Here are a few good choices for flowers to plant in early spring to add a burst of color to your lawn:
- Sweet Peas: These flowers can be planted as soon as nighttime temperatures remain above 40 degrees. Plant them approximately 6-8 inches apart.
- Primrose: It’s best to buy seedlings from a nursery and plant them in rich soil with partial shade
- Daffodils: These popular spring flowers make lovely flower arrangements because they are adaptable in most climates, and grow fuller each year. They require full sun.
- Viburnum: This shrub produces lovely flowers, and after the flowers die, then bright colorful berries appear. An easy growing, versatile shrub makes a great addition to any flowerbed.
After planting your flowerbeds, lock in moisture by laying mulch around the base of your trees, shrubs, and flowerbeds. As the sun gets warmer, it can dry out the soil and your plants can get dehydrated. Mulching locks in the heat and moisture, making your plants look lively and healthy for much longer.
Reduce Your Lawn
Spring is a good time to cut back on the amount of grass in your lawn, if you really don’t have the time to maintain a healthy looking lawn.
If you already have hardscaping in your lawn, now is the time to spruce it up with a little TLC. The winter weather can cause damage to your surfaces, but they’re easily manageable. Using a rake, rake escaped gravel back into aggregate walkways and patios. Take this time to also refill joints with stone and gravel. Water the gravel with a hose to set it into place. This will prevent stones from getting lose as easily for the season.
If your stone walkways and patio have leaf stains from the fall and winter, use a pressure washer to clean the area. This is also a good removal method of any algae spots that might be slippery on your hardscaping.
Consider hemming down your grass by using pavers or installing a brick patio. Having less grass to take care of will let you and your family spend more time enjoying the warm weather. Contact the team at Woodfield Landscaping about installing a beautiful outdoor area where you can enjoy the spring and summer weather, and reduce the amount of yard work you have to do!