Preparing for Spring Landscaping Success

In this article from the Property Management Association Bulletin, Davey tells property managers and owners why February is the month to start preparing their landscape for spring. 

Posted: Feb. 16, 2015 

By Rich Chilcoat 

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It may be difficult to focus on spring landscaping with snow covering our region. Before we know it, spring will be here. February is the time to start preparing your lawns, gardens and flowerbeds for the spring season. Take a moment to walk your property to assess the condition of your green areas. Your trees, bushes and plants have been stressed or even damaged by the winter weather, but with a little care and maintenance you can help them thrive again. The following five steps can help your landscape get off to a good start this spring.

Step 1: Take Advantage of Leaf-Free Trees 

The dormant season is here, and understanding its effects on your trees will help you better monitor their health before spring. Why is the dormant season a good time to perform tree maintenance? When the ground is frozen and many trees are leaf-free, arborists and their tree care equipment can more easily access your trees to inspect them and perform tree services. The frozen ground also helps prevent soil compaction. Most importantly, pruning in winter decreases the likelihood of the spread of some tree diseases and prevents large snow accumulations from harming the integrity of a tree’s structure.

Step 2: Jump on Weeds and Patch your Lawns

Even if snow is still on the ground, now is the time to jump on weeds. The best way to reduce weeds is to prevent them from ever occurring. This strategy calls for pre-emergent weed control. The tricky thing about pre-emergent weed control is that it has to be timed carefully, as it is tied to the soil temperature. Also, it’s important that the rate is correct. Remember that weed control doesn’t just concern your lawns – landscape beds should also be checked and monitored for weeds. Consult your landscape expert for the best course of action to keep your green areas weed-free this season. Now is also the time to plan for lawn renovation. Your lawns may have been damaged by snow and the salt used to treat roads and pathways in the winter. To maintain the beautiful appearance of your lawns, you’ll need to repair damaged areas by seeding the grass. Like weed control, seeding calls for careful application because any preemergent weed control will also kill the newly seeded grass. If you are not sure how to deal with these tasks, get some help from a certified landscape professional who will ensure that you don’t wipe out all your newly planted green spaces. Finally, lawn renovation plans should include reading your soil’s pH level. The pH level is the measure of acidity and alkalinity in soil. The amounts of these chemicals in the soil determine the availability of nutrients and how well a plant can grow. A good pH balance translates into a healthy turf and creates healthy grass. When the turf is healthy, it needs less water, better holds its color, withstands foot traffic and can fight weeds, disease and insects easier.

Step 3: Check Out Your Shrubs

Spring is an excellent time of the year to evaluate the health and appearance of the shrubs throughout your property. Wake up your landscape beds from winter by removing decaying leaves and other material. Working on bed maintenance provides a great opportunity to take a close look at shrubs and determine if they sustained winter-related damage from, for example, salt or freezing temperatures, and whether or not they are salvageable. Install new shrubs before adding mulch in order to maintain bed consistency. You want the mulch to maintain its fresh look and remain undisturbed. Otherwise, it would be like mopping the kitchen floor and then letting your pets run all over it with dirty paws. Your mulch beds will lose their neat appearance.

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