As the days grow longer and the temperatures begin to creep higher, the ritual of spring-cleaning returns: both inside and outside. Spring is the perfect time to get moving with an outdoor project after a long, cozy winter. So when you break out the vacuum, the dusters, and all the other spring-cleaning equipment, don’t miss this opportunity to offer your yard some easy TLC with these tips.
If you have a tree, bush, shrub or really almost any plant to take care of, pruning at the outset of the spring will help ensure a healthy summer. Snapping off dead or broken limbs damaged by the winter may allow these plants to concentrate on new growth.
Gather up any debris
Keep your lawn or yard healthy by making sure nothing left over from wild winter storms or strong spring winds is moldering on your property. Garbage, pet waste, or even dead plants may have ended up on your lawn during the winter, possibly concealed or buried by snow. Make sure this refuse isn’t creating an unhealthy growing environment. This is also a good time to pick up any pruned branches or clippings!
Do a deep clean
Whether you’re preparing for some entertaining or just enjoying the outdoors solo, the start of spring is a good time to clean patios, decks, furniture, pavers, or anything else that may have been subjected to winter weather.
Mildew may have started sprouting in tight spaces, so a thorough wash may need to be supplemented by a product that specifically targets unwanted mold growth. You can make this at home or pick something recommended by your local home and garden center.
If you want to whip up a batch of magic mildew-fighting spray yourself, try this easy recipe:
- .5 cup white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons borax
- 1 tablespoon warm water (to help the borax dissolve)
Spray your solution directly on the mildew, let it work for at least 30 minutes, and then rinse thoroughly with water. Allow the area to dry completely and you should now be mildew-free!
Pre-empt the weeds
This year stop playing catch-up in the war on weeds. You can start your spring with a sneak attack on crabgrass—ambush this common garden invader with a pre-emergent herbicide. Check with your local home and garden center to figure out the right product for your region. Making the decision to take action in the spring may save you hours of pulling weeds under the hot summer sun.
Inspect for insect issues
Obviously, a certain amount of wildlife can be beneficial to your garden, yard, or lawn. However, it is prudent to treat for pests in the spring. As aphids, earwigs, slugs, snails, and other critters may become a problem, you might need to proactively prevent them from destroying all your hard work.
For small insects like aphids and others, you can use a spray bottle to knock them off, use essential oils to drive them away, or encourage natural predation in the form of ladybugs and lacewings. Birds also enjoy snacking on these small critters; if you have a problem with these insects, encouraging the local bird population to hang out at your place by placing a bird feeder, might lead to a reduction in garden pests.
Grow your own produce
If you’ve been cooking from home during the pandemic, you know that fresh herbs or vegetables can help elevate any dish. Growing your own crops is a great way to feel productive, self-sufficient, and healthy. Or unhealthy—a frozen pizza may taste like a culinary masterpiece with a few leaves of homegrown basil.
Adjust for large-animal antics
Whether you have a simple lawn or an ornate garden, your yard may be a fun hangout for some annoying regional wildlife. Deer may create dead patches of grass in your yard while smaller critters like rabbits and squirrels might decide to convert your garden into a buffet.
If you are so inclined, you can cultivate plants resistant to the snack-focused fauna in your neighborhood. Another option would be to invest in animal proofing around vulnerable plants or lawns. This fencing can be fabricated based on your own skills or you can track down some assistance at your local home and garden center.
Of course, a neighborhood dog might be the wild animal that’s affecting the health of your lawn or yard the most. You can purchase a sign to warn dog owners about allowing their pets to use your property as a toilet. There are a lot of nice options these days—try your local home and garden center or visit online retail portals like Etsy if you’re looking for something a little different. Make sure that whatever you purchase has a clear message. Mostly, it’s up to the local dog owners to be conscientious, but being clear about what you want to happen on your lawn can’t hurt!
Rock a box
If you own a home in a place where space or location makes lawn or yard care a moot point, you might be able to do some growing with a window box. If you’ve got access to a window for gardening, try to find one that gets good light but isn’t subject to high-speed winds that may occur in places with high buildings. Likewise, living in a city can still subject your garden to the rigors of hardy urban wildlife like squirrels, rats, raccoons, possums, and more. Invest in a little fencing or covering that prevents interference from hungry pests but still allows sunlight and water access to your plants.
However you can, try to spruce up your yard or garden with a thoughtful, thorough clean up. Set your plant life up for success for the rest of the year!