Ah, yard work; one of the many chores that come with home ownership. As the long cold winter finally loosens its grip, now is the time to get the yard cleaned up and ready to grow. Doing a few special maintenance chores at the start of the season can set up the yard for the whole year, giving you the most “bang” for the effort. Early-spring yard work can provide an appreciable and lasting improvement in the health and appearance of your yard and make regular yard maintenance easier.
The Grass is Greener
Getting that picture-perfect green lawn can be frustrating for late starters. Spring is the time to seed, feed, and develop the healthy grass that will flourish through the summer. One huge tip is to customize your grass seed to your yard. Certain grasses do better in different agricultural zones, soil types, and moisture levels, and in different levels of sun and shade. Do a little research and pick the best type of grass for your yard. Many seeding attempts fail due to inappropriate seed choices. Picking the right grass for your yard conditions gives it the best chance of growing.
Once you seed, consider applying a fertilizer or weed killer. In some parts of the country, a pest control method may also be needed (like for fire ants!). As your grass grows, be sure to mow it regularly. Young lawns need frequent mowing at a high setting. The longer grass allows the chlorophyll-filled green blades to produce food for the plant, but frequent mowing encourages root development. By mowing it at a high level, you can foster healthier, stronger plants that will last longer and endure the harsher late-summer conditions better.
Landscape for Life
The key to landscaping is planning. By working out the moisture and sun levels for the areas of your yard, and selecting plants that thrive in your zone, you can create a beautiful and long-lasting yard. Low-maintenance yards are all about perennials. An annual plant grows for one year and then dies. While some Annuals are self-seeding, meaning if you let the plant wither in its natural cycle it will drop seeds that will grow in the same place next year, the most reliable decorative plants are the ones that stay alive. Plant annuals only with the understanding that they will have to be replaced somewhere down the line. Some go-to annuals are roots and bulbs, like daylilies, tulips, and daffodils, that die back in the summer and pop back up again each year. Other constant yard staples are the greenery: trees, bushes, and flowering shrubs. Most persistent greenery needs only a little trim-work during the dormant winter period or just after the flowers fade. You can get great information from local arboretums, nurseries, and landscape professionals to select the best mix of plants to suit your yard conditions and maintenance preferences, and set your yard up for year-long attractiveness.
Spring is the best time to tackle yard problems. One common yard issue is when plants and grass keep dying off around the base of a tree means the tree isn’t getting enough water and is leaching it off of the surface. Try surrounding it with a thick circle of well-watered mulch to trap moisture and replenish the nutrients in the soil. Loosen compacted soil with aerators, apply lime (limestone) to acidic soil, till compost into poor soil, fill and level holes and ruts… the list goes on. Tackling problems in small projects early not only makes the work easier (when it’s cool and the soil is moist and workable), it gives the growing things time to take advantage of the improvements before the stress of summer heat can deter them.
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About David Goldstein — David Goldstein is an Owner and Founding Partner of Express Schools, LLC. which operates online education providers Real Estate Express, Insurance License Express and License Tutor. Follow him on Twitter.