With spring’s longer days and the sun’s rays re-warming the earth, perennials have sprouted and the grass has returned. If you’re like me, you’re inspired and ready to leap into action to create that amazing 2013 outdoor vista. Let’s get started!
1 Rake your lawn
Raking stimulates the top layer of soil while removing the debris on your lawn. Your lawnmower will thank you!
2 Aerate your lawn
3 Fertilize you lawn and garden
Boost your lawn with a slow-release fertilizer. Before you make your purchase, calculate your lawn’s square footage. Follow the package directions carefully. Top off with a ¼-inch layer of weed-free compost, possibly available free of charge from your community composting or mulch program.
Cool and damp weather is ideal for seeding. Find a good quality seed and use a spreader or sprinkle it by hand. Daily watering will get you on track to a thick lawn—the most effective way to combat weeds.
Mow twice a week in the month of May for a noticeably thicker lawn. (Once a week is enough in other months.) Keep your mower blades sharp and set at a height of two to three inches.
Attack dandelions before they take over! Try this weed control on a sunny day… Be careful to avoid surrounding plants while you brush vinegar directly onto dandelions. (A second application may be required.) Spreading white sugar also kills weeds while sparing the lawn. Commercial, do-it-yourself lawn products and lawn care companies can also help.
7 Tidy up gardens
Rake out debris, break up the soil, and cut back dead stalks. Add compost, topsoil, manure or peat moss for nutrients and improved drainage. Consider adding new perennials.
Pruning encourages new, healthy growth. Trim perennials after they have flowered for the season. For help pruning large trees, contact a landscaper or arborist. ‘Dead head’ flowers regularly.
9 Prepare containers
To prepare for pots and planters brimming with healthy annuals, dump last year’s soil, then add rocks, bricks or Styrofoam to occupy space and provide drainage. Top generously with potting soil and you’re ready to plant. Already planted your annuals? Be prepared to cover or bring them inside when frost threatens.
10 Water daily
Keep the soil in planters moist but not wet. Annuals in hanging baskets will better survive the summer drought if you replant them into larger containers.
Sometimes your lawn and garden will surprise or amaze you, but mostly you’ll enjoy beauty and fragrance… until the snow flies.
By Zoë Waller