Spring Yard Clean Up Checklist and Essentials
Spring yard cleaning consists of getting rid of trash from your lawn and planting beds, fertilizing and preparing planting beds, planting lawns and flower beds, controlling pests and weeds, shrub pruning, and perennial division and mulching. After the dormant and extremely cold conditions of the winter months, your plants and lawn also need some extra care and attention. Just like spring cleaning your home involves airing it out to bring the fresh air in after months of staying locked up, spring yard cleanup follows the same philosophy of getting rid of the old and the damaged to replace it with the new.
Spring cleanup prepares your yard for the growing season through yard maintenance and lawn care tasks. While completing these tasks, you need to keep in mind that your lawn is tender in spring after remaining dormant during winter. Therefore, you need to be gentle in everything you do to prevent injury and harm to your yard.
Now that we have established the importance of spring yard cleanup let us jump into the tasks that are involved in this process. Edenapp has curated a checklist to make sure you cover all your bases.
1. Getting Rid of Trash From Your Lawn and Planting Beds
Roll up your sleeves, wear your work gloves and get ready to tackle all the waste that has gathered in your lawn through the entire winter season. Pick up the most obvious trash first, like pet refuse (cat litter, dog waste), fallen branches, pinecones, and twigs. Be careful of broken glass while collecting the trash. If you leave this debris in your yard for too long after the snow has melted, it will affect the growth of new grass.
Next, rake any leaves that were left over from your fall cleanup. If these leaves are left as the snow is melting, the wet leaves will cause your lawn grass to develop a fungal disease called snow mold. And no one wants that. Therefore, you should rake these leaves out as raking also achieves the dual purpose of removing thatch from your lawn. Thatch is loose, spongy organic matter that accumulates right under the soil surface.
After this, we come to the flower bed cleanup. Start with removing any dead leaves and limbs from your perennials and ornamental grasses and pull out all the dead annuals. If the weather is warm enough and there is no more danger of frost, you can remove the old layer of mulch to prepare the plant beds for a fresh layer.
Don’t throw away all the green waste you collect during your cleanup. Use the dead leaves, twigs, branches, spent annuals and thatch for backyard composting. They are a good source of organic manure. Also, don’t start your spring cleanup too early as you will lose a lot of beneficial insects like native bees, syrphid flies, lacewings, and parasitic wasps, who go into hibernation during winter. The bees will help pollinate your lawn during the spring, and the other insects are predators who will keep pests off your lawn. Give them time to develop, as they will greatly benefit your lawn.
2. Fertilizing and Preparing Planting Beds
After your yard is clear of all debris, it is time to feed the vegetation. Add compost around all the plants in your lawn and fertilize them. The best time to fertilize your plant beds is right before adding a new layer of mulch. This will replenish the soil with all the nutrients that were spent during the long winter months and give your plants a boost for the growing season.
Edenapp suggests using compost as a fertilizer instead of chemical ones in order to prevent your plants from being burdened with chemicals. Compost is a natural slow-release fertilizer that is gentle on your plants. But if the composition or pH of your soil needs to be amended, then you are free to use chemical fertilizers. Make sure to read the application instructions before you use them. While fertilizing, you can also pull out any weeds that you find along the way.
Winter also affects the lines of your plant beds. So, you should carefully redefine the bed lines in a way that the mulch can meet the line of lawn grass in a definite path. This will give your landscape a finished look.
Work the soil of your beds to loosen the compact parts and remove any rocks and debris you find. If your soil has poor drainage, add some grit or sand to improve it.
Also, if you are planning to add new plant beds this year, then you should break the new ground using a tiller and create raised garden beds to make them stand out. You can kill the grass on the patch of lawn you are converting into a plant bed with a smothering method or by using herbicides. Cover this area with a layer of mulch to prevent weeds from sprouting up and taking over your new garden bed.
3. Planting Lawns and Flower Beds
Early spring is the ideal time to plant perennials in your beds because they are hardy and can handle a bit of cold weather. If you want to plant annuals, you should wait till the weather remains in the 50 degrees Fahrenheit range consistently as annuals are more susceptible to cold weather.
Plan your plantings while keeping the point of view, plant sizes and their blooming times in mind. If your flower bed will mostly be viewed from the side, then place the plants which will be the tallest at maturity in the center and surround these with smaller-sized plants. If you will be viewing your flower bed from the front, then placing the tallest plants at the back is the best idea.
Combine annuals and perennials together when you are planting. This is to ensure that your flower bed has an even distribution of color throughout the year.
When it comes to lawn grass, early spring is a good time for overseeding or planting new seeds. As the temperature slowly warms up, it will provide a cozy environment for the grass seeds to germinate. The overseeding process should be preceded by aeration to ensure proper drainage and even distribution of nutrients in the soil. However, if you are going to apply herbicides in spring, wait till fall for overseeding as the herbicides will prevent new grass growth.
4. Controlling Pests and Weeds
Pests pose a challenge to many landscapes. If you live in a region where wildlife frequently invades your landscape and eats your precious plants, you should try using plants that are resistant to animals like deer and rabbits. But if you feel this limits the creativity of your landscape, you should invest in fences that will stop these animals.
Spring is also the time when insects wake up from hibernation. While some of these insects are pollinators that are beneficial to your landscape, others are pests that will feed on your plants. Regular checks of your plants and grass during the growing season are important to prevent them from spreading.
Edenapp does not recommend spraying pesticides in your landscape without identifying the type of pests, as this will harm your landscape. The correct identification of pests is important to tackle them in their most vulnerable season and with the right type and amount of pesticide. If you are unsure about this, a professional landscaping company can help you develop the right pest control program for your landscape.
Coming to weeds, they are an inevitable part of any landscape. The best way to prevent them is to attack them before the weed seeds germinate. Pre-emergent herbicides are used for this, and it is all about the timing here. Pre-emergents need to be used during early spring before the temperatures become consistently warm. This will allow the pre-emergent application time to penetrate into the soil and form a layer around the root of the weeds as they grow. This layer will smother the weed root system, thus killing the weeds before they develop.
There are some types of weeds that are late growers. Therefore you need to apply a second round of pre-emergents a few weeks after the first application. Edenapp recommends the preventive application of herbicides over post-emergent applications as this is better for the overall health of your landscape.
5. Shrub Pruning
Once the danger of frost has passed, you can start to unwrap the burlap or any other covering you might have used to protect your shrubs during winter. Examine the branches and leaves for winter damage and remove any that are dead or have been affected by frostbite, rodent damage and burns due to de-icers.
You can prune the dead parts of all the plants, regardless of the type of plant. Cut till the part where the green stops and brown starts in the branches. Pruning your shrubs will help promote new healthy growth by making sure precious nutrients are not wasted on dying or damaged branches.
The blooming time of the shrub comes into play when you need to prune the live part of the plants. If the plant is a spring-flowering plant, don’t prune it in early spring as you will be removing potential flowering buds. Wait till their flowering period ends to prune this type. Examples of spring-flowering shrubs are Forsythia and Lilacs.
Summer flowering plants like Rose of Sharon and Lavender can be pruned in early spring without the fear of losing blossoming parts. Pruning them at this time will stimulate healthy blossoms in summer.
When shaping hedges, Edenapp suggests using hand trimmers instead of electric shears as manual pruning will ensure that the outer layer of growth is not so thick that sunlight is unable to reach the center of the shrub.
6. Perennial Division and Mulch Removal
As Edenapp suggested in the first point, remove the mulch when the weather starts remaining consistently warm and your property is not in the frost zone anymore. You should monitor the growth of perennials for a better sense of timing for the removal of mulch. When the perennials begin to reemerge, remove the layer of mulch so that their growth is unrestricted. If the weather in your region becomes cold again after you have removed the mulch, you will have to add a fresh layer again. Keep repeating this process till the temperature conditions are consistently warm.
There are various benefits to mulching. It prevents the growth of weeds, helps the soil to retain moisture during summer, and gives your landscape a finished look.
Lastly, we come to the division of perennials. Most of the perennials can be divided during spring, but if you require advice on this, a professional landscaper can help you.
For the division of perennials, you should dig them up carefully and divide them so that at least three stems are left in each clump. You can then plant these new clumps in the sparse areas of your flower beds. This will ensure that all the bare spots in your landscape are filled.
When to Start Yard Work in Spring
There is no exact calendar date for this answer as it depends on where you live. Early spring is known to be a good time to start yard cleanup, but again one might wonder what characterizes early springtime.
You can turn to your landscape to provide the signs. You should start your spring yard cleanup based on the following factors.
- The region you live in should be out of the frost zone.
- Your soil and grass should have completely thawed.
- The excess water of the frost should be soaked by the soil, and the soil should be allowed to dry after this.
- The average temperature should remain above 40 degrees Fahrenheit consistently.
If you start your spring cleanup too early, you will be compacting the soil with your constant treading, thus preventing healthy regrowth.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t wait till spring comes in full bloom to start spring cleaning your yard because if the debris and other waste remains in the yard for too long, your landscape will face the risk of developing fungal diseases. Therefore, timing your spring cleanup right is essential.
What is the Fastest Way to Clean Up Your Yard?
Yard cleanup is a time-consuming and physically draining activity. Here are some tips suggested by Edenapp to make your yard cleanup quick and efficient:
- Use the correct tools: Using the right tools for your yard cleanup is half the job done. They will make your job quicker and easier. For example, your shovel should have a handle length that is convenient to use for your build, and you should use small scissors instead of heavy pruning shears for the hard-to-reach stalks of shrubs.
- Use a tarp with your leaf blower to clean up leaves: No matter how good your leaf blower is, it will blow the leaves only to a certain distance. If you use a tarp, you can blow the leaves into large piles near the tarp and then rake them onto it. You can then carry all the leaves at once instead of making several trips. This will save you a lot of time.
- Use preventive methods for weed control: Pulling out the weeds after they have grown takes up a lot of time, and the weeds would have already taken up a portion of the nutrients meant for your plants by then. Therefore, Edenapp suggests using preventive measures like pre-emergent applications and mulching to prevent the weeds from growing at all.
- Keep your gutters clean with gutter guards: Cleaning out your gutters regularly is essential to prevent roof damage and rot. To reduce the frequency of this task, you should install gutter guards. While they don’t completely block the leaves, they will definitely prevent you from having to climb up to your roof often.
- Start a compost pile for your yard waste: Compost piles serve the dual purpose of saving time in waste disposal and providing a rich source of organic nutrients for your landscape. You don’t need to gather all your green waste in bags and haul them to the disposal truck anymore.
If you want to know the fastest way to clean up your yard during fall, read Edenapp’s article – Tricks for Fast and Easy Fall Yard Cleanup.
How Much Does Spring Yard Clean Up Cost?
Spring yard clean up cost depends on a number of factors like:
- The city you live in.
- The landscape service you hire.
- The size of your yard.
- The tasks you want to be completed.
Yard cleanup prices are different for different regions as the cost of living differs. Also, yard cleanup services have different definitions based on the landscape company you hire. Some landscaping companies only include basic services like raking up the leaves and removing other debris from your lawn for a cost of $250. You should be careful to avoid hiring these services.
Good landscape contractors will give you a complete spring yard cleanup that includes tasks like wrap removal, tree pruning, leaf and debris removal, weeding, checking for snow mold and dethatching, fertilizing, reseeding, aeration, etc. Edenapp provides these services at flat rates starting from $200 for half an acre of land.
Do You Need a Spring Cleaning Yard Service?
While some people like taking care of their yard as a DIY project, this only works well if you have appropriate lawn care knowledge. Incorrect methods of completing your yard cleaning tasks like pruning could seriously damage your landscape. This is the reason you need a professional spring yard clean service.
A professional landscape contractor will know the right time to start waking up your lawn from its winter slumber. They will remove all the debris gently and prune the plants according to their blooming period in the right way. Hiring a landscaper to do all the tasks mentioned at the beginning of this article will ensure they are done correctly and efficiently. This will save you a lot of time, and physical energy as yard cleanup involves extensive physical labor.
Therefore, Edenapp suggests hiring professional landscape contractors if you are not familiar with lawn care and want to save time and energy.
How Spring Clean Up Differ than Fall Clean-Up?
Spring and fall are two different seasons, and therefore the tasks that need to be completed in regard to the cleanup at these times will also be different.
Spring cleanup focuses on preparing the yard for the growing season ahead while removing all the vegetation that is either dead or damaged due to the winter season. Spring cleanup tasks include:
- Debris removal
- Cleaning flower beds
- Lawn repair to fix plow and salt damage
- Leaf removal
- Lawn dethatching
- Flower bed edging
- Replacing mulch
- Pre-emergent application
Fall cleanup focuses on preparing the plants, trees and lawn grass to withstand the harsh cold conditions of winter. Fall cleanup tasks include:
- Wrapping the shrubs with a protective covering like burlap
- Complete leaf removal to prevent fungal diseases like snow mold
- Mowing the grass short
- Fresh mulching to insulate the roots of the plants
- Trimming and pruning the branches of trees, shrubs and perennials
- Cleaning out the gutters
Seasonal cleanup of your yard is essential to keep it healthy and prevent the infestation of pests, insects and diseases. Also, a lawn that is well-maintained in all seasons increases the market value of a property. Edenapp provides yard cleanup services for both spring and fall. We use the appropriate tools and landscape materials to ensure that your landscape is in the best condition to face the season ahead. Contact us today to learn more about our services.
Enjoy a beautifully manicured lawn with our timely yard work services that care for your yard according to the season. Call us today!