Spring cleaning represents a new beginning. That is why people give their homes a good deep-cleaning and dispose of old things to usher in the new season. Is it any different with lawns? What is a Spring clean up for lawns for landscape crews and homeowners?
Spring clean up is a process of repairing damage to landscapes from harsh Winter conditions and preparing them for the coming growing seasons of Spring and Summer. It entails applying a weed and feed, pruning, clearing debris, defining bed edges, and touching up mulched surfaces.
I will explain all of the recommended parts of a good Spring cleaning for you yard, beds, and areas around your house. We will also look having a professional crew take care of this for you and when it is time to call one. Let’s dive into Spring and get to cleaning.
Why Is Spring The Time For Clean Up?
I have a tradition for Spring clean up that has been in my family for years which requires me to tidy up the whole house to get that fresh start as we venture out more and open the windows to let in the fresh Spring air.
Like me, many also do this for their lawn around 1 week into the spring season. This sets the backdrop to highlight the new plants and blooms that are soon coming. This fresh start is again associated with leaving the slumber of Fall and Winter and entering into the new and lively warmer seasons.
Spring is the time for home and lawn clean up because it marks the end of the dormant stage of grasses, plants and trees. Getting a lawn ready for warmer weather is a good chance to tackle deferred maintenance and complete necessary preparations.
I promise that it’s not as mundane as it may sound even though we’ll be walking through what spring clean up is for lawn crews and homeowners.
Spring season comes with a feeling of new beginnings that even lawn crews and homeowners are utilizing as a period to thoroughly clean their homes, lawns, and equipment.
When cleaning up your home after a long, harsh winter, you should not restrict this to indoors only. Leaving your lawn untouched sort of negates the whole point of spring clean up. It also prepares the landscape for the harsh conditions of hot and dry temperatures to come.
Why Do A Spring Clean Up Of Your Yard?
There are many tasks that you can do at the beginning of Spring that will save you tons of time, money, and stress throughout the Spring and Summer months. There are even things you can do in these early days that you can’t do in the heat of Summer. There are several reasons why you would want to do a Spring clean up.
Here are several reasons why you want to do a Spring clean up:
- The need to redefine the edges of flower beds, driveways, and walkways
- Necessary touch up of mulched surfaces damaged by wind, water, and small burrowing animals
- It is important to fertilize lawns and flowerbeds
- It is the time to add weed control to lawns and flowerbeds
- Lawns must be cleared of debris like sticks, limbs, and matted leaves
If the exterior of your house still looks like winter, your house isn’t truly ready for warmer growing seasons and weather for as long as you leave your lawn unkept. Your yard has just survived the harsh hands of winter. Leaves have fallen, branches are broken, and your lawn looks like a shadow of its former self.
You don’t want your lawn to remain this messy all through the new season. That’s why you need a proper cleanup to revive the lush of your garden. Think of this as a makeover if you want.
The whole point of spring cleaning is to get your yard, beds, or garden ready for the new season that’s filled with blooming flowers and bright skies. As well, you will want to get a jump on weed control and preparing your soils and plants for changes in temperature and rainfall levels.
It is at this point that lawn clean up crews bring their A-game to change the entire atmosphere of your lawn from what it was during the winter to a better, cleaner, and more visually appealing version of itself.
What Is A Pre-Spring Clean Up?
As a part of any lawn maintenance, a year-round schedule is optimal and filled with time sensitive tasks that make any yard vibrant, orderly, and healthy. Part of this annual routine is a pre-Spring clean up.
So, before we dive deeper into a Spring clean up, what exactly is a pre-Spring clean up?
A pre-Spring clean up is a series of scheduled tasks that occur during the final months of Winter that prepare for the upcoming change in seasons. Jobs completed in a pre-Spring cleanup include…
- Adding a 1/2″ to 1″ mulch depth to beds
- Pruning bushes and ornamental trees
- Cutting to ground level that have died away
- Applying a pre-emergent to lawns
During these colder winter months grasses and many plants are in their dormant stage, but there are several things that can be done before even a Spring clean up begins.
Things To Do In A Pre-Spring Clean Up
Adding depth to mulch beds is a good way to keep down the weeds that will try to invade in the coming spring. It also acts as a barrier to water evaporation and holds in moisture around plant roots.
This late winter time frame is also great for pruning bushes and ornamental trees. Cutting back withered or dead plants to the ground can help perennials to come back healthier and open space for more seasonal annuals.
This is also a time to apply a good pre-emergent to cull weeds in your lawn before they have a chance to start.
Pre-emergent: a preemergence chemical, as a herbicide… of or relating to seedlings before they emerge or appear above ground – a preemergent weed-killer.Dictionary.com
These are great at catching many weeds that would take hold in thinner parts of your lawn and begin to spread as warmer weather arrives. If you want the safest, easiest, and most effective pre-emergent for your lawn, then I recommend The Andersons Barricade Professional-Grade Granular Pre-Emergent Weed Control found on Amazon.
Things Not To Do In A Pre-Spring Clean Up
There are a couple of things that you should not attempt during this time of the year. Though some of these may seem sensical, they will either have no effect or could even be detrimental to your lawn’s health.
This is not a good time to aerate or seed your grassy areas. The holes created by aeration allow air and moisture to reach the roots of turf grasses. If these holes fill with water that then freezes, it could spell disaster for your yard.
Seeding at this time of year when seedlings are very unlikely to take root is also a waste of time and money. This should be done in the Fall to give them time to take root and slowly increase their root systems throughout the Winter. Adding seeds in the early part of the year will only be feeding the birds wintering in your area.
Weed and Feed products are also not a good option this early. These products rely on blooming plants to deliver the herbicides to the stems and roots. Before Spring has begun, lawn based weeds will not have had a chance to bloom and will still be in dormant stages or not sprouted from seeds laid in previous seasons.
There are times of the year that these types of things are important to do, but the months before Spring are not it.
To see more great articles like this one, check these out…
- Is It Possible To Over Aerate A Lawn? (Answered)
- Should You Mow or Edge Your Lawn First? (Revealed)
- When Morning Glories Bloom And How To Encourage Them
When Does Pre-Spring Clean Up Start?
There is a right time and a wrong time to do some of the tasks included in a pre-Spring clean up. For the majority of properties, what is the best time to begin a pre-Spring clean up?
The best time to start a pre-Spring clean up is late January to early February. This time frame is late enough to ensure that all plants are in their dormant stage and most warm weather annuals are completely dead. It is also too early to start some of the projects needed in a Spring clean up.
This is also a great time to have professional crews do your work for you since they are much less busy at this time of year and will be eager to find winter work. Along with pruning and other tasks they will be willing to do clearing and bush hog work as well.
When Does Spring Cleaning Start?
This now leads us the the main Spring clean up we started with. There is also a good time to start these tasks to ready your property for the coming warmer weather.
Of course, Spring clean up starts at the end of winter. This usually falls between the 1st of March and continues to the end of April. The work should be completed before the first major regular mowing schedule begins and should not be deferred until temperatures begin to reach Summer levels.
Different cultures practice different deep-cleaning times in preparation for celebrations or festivals, but when it comes to a lawn, it is imperative that it happens before temperatures become to hot and dry days can damage unprepared plants and yardscapes.
What Is Included In A Spring Cleanup?
A Spring clean up entails cleaning, clearing, and hours prepping your garden for the new season. Like every other activity, you need a game plan before you take any action or you’ll end up working in circles with no visible result.
Before you take on spring cleaning your garden, make a checklist tailored to the needs of your lawn. Here’s what a spring cleaning checklist should look like.
Spring Cleaning checklist
Activity 1: Inspect Your Lawn
Take a long walk around your yard and take note of the work you have to get done. Note the damages, holes, withering plants, trees that need attention, shrubs that need pruning or trimming, and so on. Don’t leave anything out.
It’s a good idea to list the extent of work and calculate the number of hours you have to put into getting it done. If you’re worried about the number of hours, then maybe consider hiring a lawn crew.
Activity 2: Redefine Bed, Walk, And Driveway Edges
This is the right time to straighten or even out the lines between grass areas and non turf sections of your lawn. Grasses of many types are invasive, and even though they mainly increase their root sizes under ground during the Winter, they will be ready to overtake new territory at the first sign of warmer weather.
It is a good idea to either use a string trimmer or a square shovel to create definite separations between your turf and non-turf areas. String trimmers can create softer distinctions, but I usually like to cut stark divisions with a good square shovel each Spring clean up to create a small line that is hard for grasses and weeds to cross.
Whichever you choose, the Spring clean up is the best time to do it to stop the spread of grasses and weeds into unwanted areas. It also makes the task of finish dressing beds with mulch much easier.
Activity 3: Topdressing Mulched Beds
This is a great way to make your flower beds look fresh and new. It entails adding no more than a 1/2 inch of mulch to the visible areas of your ornamental plant beds.
Mulch, especially colored mulch, tends to loose some of its vibrant color over time. It will lend itself to different shades of grey on top of most best as it decomposes. You could churn the mulch if you are not interested in buying more for this process, but this tends to leave an uneven surface and more decomposed mulch on top.
What we have done for many years is buy bagged mulch and spread it for color and uniformity over the visible surfaces of flower beds. For those with a lot of plants, it will not take much. For larger areas of course it will take more, but only a thin layer is needed for this sprucing effect.
Activity 4: Clear Up Your Lawn
Roll up your sleeves and prepare to get busy. The first task to attack on your checklist is to remove obstacles and debris from your lawn. Remove things like pet feces, dead leaves, tree branches, stick larger than your index finger, and every other obstacle off your lawn that has accumulated over the winter.
Some simple items it is a good idea to consider is a tarp for hauling sticks and other debris and a pair of garden gloves for this task. While you’re cleaning out the big stuff consider raking up smaller pieces of debris like leaves, withering branches, etc.
Here is a list of tools I recommend with links to Amazon for ordering and price comparison:
Activity 5: Mowing
The next thing to do is to give your lawn a good trim. Whether you choose to mow with a lawnmower, reel mower, or a scythe, that’s up to you and your preference.
Here are some helpful tips to note while mowing:
– Don’t rush your mowing. The first mowing can damage soil and grass with wheel tread and even foot traffic.
– Avoid mowing wet grass. Wet grass is torn not cut and can clump inside your lawnmower.
– Also, don’t mow your lawn too low. It is advisable to mow your lawn to about ⅓ of the size of the blades of grass.
Tools you need: A lawnmower, reel mower, or scythe and a rake.
Activity 6: Plan For Debris Disposal
Gather up all debris: fallen leaves, twigs, waste, collected during the clearing up and find the right way to dispose of them properly. You don’t want this debris lying in your yard all summer. Not only do they attract pests into your yard, but it also starts to release an unpleasant smell.
Tools you need: garbage bags and hand gloves.
Activity 6: Prune And Trim Bushes And Shrubs
If a pre-Spring clean up was not done, you should deal with shrubs and ornamental trees at this time.
Overgrown shrubs in your garden look unappealing and are less healthy than pruned ones. Ensure you give your shrubs and plants a nice trim all around. The aim is to achieve even growth on all sides of your plants.
Cut no more than ⅓ of the plant, all sides trimmed evenly to allow the sunlight to touch every side of the shrubs. Use a pruner to trim delicate stems
Tools you need: (links to Amazon for ordering or price comparison)
Activity 7: Fertilize And Control Weeds
The time in early Spring is the perfect time to catch those early flowering weeds and give your lawn the first boost it needs for the coming growing season.
This is the time to apply one to two applications of a good weed and feed. This is a product that attacks blooming weeds in your turf areas and at the same time lays down a good fertilizer for your lawn’s early season needs.
This is a process that was popular all the way back to the 1980s especially for farming and agriculture. Here is a fun look back at some information put out by the University of Kentucky’s college of Agriculture in 1984. The formulas are commercially available now to homeowners and have been perfected for easy safe use.
It is best to do this at the first signs of clover or dandelion blooms and can be done twice in the early Spring. It is important to let at minimum 3 weeks pass between applications to prevent fertilizer from building up in your lawn.
It is an extremely easy product to use with the right spreader. Here is the weed and feed and spreader that I recommend…
When Should You Call In A Professional Lawn Crew?
Spring-cleanup for your yard involves a lot of work that could be a great stress releaser or for some a stress builder. This could be good for your health or in the case of those with health issues, exacerbate the problem.
As well, if you don’t have time to complete activities on the checklist provided above, then you should consider hiring a professional lawn crew to handle the clean up of your lawn.
We have found that a good crew can take a few hours to do what could possibly take you a week to do on your own. If you are like me and like to get your hands dirty, then by all means jump in and get to work.
Yet, if you are unable to do the work needed due to time or health constraints, contact a local landscaping crew and they usually will be more than happy to give you a free estimate.
The Final Touches On Spring Clean Up…
To wrap things up, spring cleaning is a fun activity to get yourself busy and involved in your lawn clean up process. Ensure you have the strength for it before diving into it. If not, there are plenty of lawn crews in your area that can make quick work of it.
Just remember, for the best looking and healthy lawn and beds, these things should not be deferred.
To see other great articles from us at LawncareGrandpa.com…
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