Initial Cleanup Made Simple
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Different types of processes involved in Initial Clean-up
Tree pruning and wrap removal
Usually done in late winter or very early spring, this process involves cutting and removing any broken or disfigured branches (likely caused by snow and ice) from trees and shrubs. If you had wrapped the lower parts of your trees and shrubs to prevent pest attack during winter, now is the time to remove those wraps.
Leaves and debris clean-up
Even if fall clean-up was done, there are some trees and shrubs that shed their leaves over the winter period. These leaves have to be cleared out and removed along with any other debris on the lawn. It is not unusual to find loose debris like pines needles, sticks, pine cones scattered across the yard. They should be removed too. If you there are perennial plants in the garden bed, it is best to cut off the spent stems also.
Plow damage repair
As the snow thaws out, it may not be surprising to see some damage caused by actions of snowploughs on your lawn. Spring is the best time to repair such damage. A good landscaping company can be called in for proper plough damage repair during spring clean-up.
All weeds that survive winter should be removed entirely as the season change will help their roots become more vigorous, making them harder to eradicate later. Further spring weeding can involve the application of pre-emergent herbicides before the weeds germinate, or selective post-emergent herbicides if weeds are already visible. There are some organic weed control methods you can apply too.
Checking for snow mold and dethatching
Snow mold is an unfavorable lawn condition that sometimes develops when huge layers of snow sit on the lawn for too long, leading to the turf getting infected with snow. Snow mold is usually visible when the snow melts off and can be handled by raking the areas affected lightly to get rid of the infected grasses and allow for proper airflow. Thatch, on the other hand, refers to matted dried grasses that can harbor snow mold. Thatch can be removed by raking the affected areas too. However, it is best to wait until the lawn is a bit dry before trying to rake the infected grasses and any accumulated thatch away. Do not scrape when it is still too moist as this can pull out grass seed. Rule of thumb: If footprints remain after walking, then it’s still too moist.
Fertilizing and Re-seeding
If there are empty patches in your lawn and garden as a result of winter’s damages, then spring is the best time to re-establish grasses on those patches. To re-seed empty patches, follow these steps:
i. Rake affected area to loosen the soil
ii. Apply compost or fertilizer in small quantities
iii. Sprinkle grass seed on the spot
Water and Mulch
Although the best time to fertilize is in fall, some early fertilization can be done in late spring too.
Loosen Compacted soil
During winter, the soil in garden beds can get compacted and remain so after winter passes. The soil in your garden bed should be loosened using simple hand tools for small beds and by tillage – for larger areas. For compacted soils in lawns, the land can be loosened by aeration. However, aeration is best done in autumn as spring aeration may only help to provide a conducive soil state for the growth of weeds.
Why is Initial Clean-up Important?
Spring clean-up in landscaping is essential as it provides your lawn or garden with the adequate care needed to stay healthy, lush and green throughout the fall and summer months ahead. It will help your yard regain its aesthetic appeal too. Winter causes lots of surprise damages to your lawn that are both visible and sometimes, unseen by the eye until comprehensive clean-up is done. As soon as the snow melts, it is best to assess your yard, clear out the unwanted debris and carry out the initial clean-up of the year.