When the weather finally begins to warm up, it’s time to prepare your yard for April showers and the opportunity for gorgeous May flowers. Transitioning your outdoor landscaping from winter-protected to spring-prepared is a breeze with the following tips that will help guide your grounds into an enchanting oasis.
Transitioning from Winter
Just as you put away your winter wardrobe to make room for spring, you need to do the same with your yard. Remember to remove any burlap you may have used for winter shrub or tree protection and then inspect your plants for broken branches or other damage to see if they need to be pruned or removed all together.
Next, rake old leaves and debris from plant beds and use an edging tool to refresh and tidy up the natural edges around the beds. Don’t forget to test out your irrigation system once the weather has warmed up enough to ensure it hasn’t been damaged during the winter.
Once every few years, it’s best to test out your soil to see if it has the proper pH balance and mix of nutrients. When a plant’s soil pH is high, its ability to absorb nutrients can be disrupted and if it’s too high, it prevents the iron in the soil from changing into a form the plant can absorb. To test your soil, you can purchase a soil meter or pH kit. If you would rather test it yourself, there are some homemade soil pH testing methods you can try out here.
Once you’ve analyzed your soil conditions, you can decide whether or not to fertilize your lawn. If your soil is in need of nutrients, it’s best to choose a fertilizer that can fulfill those needs. A slow-release or controlled-release fertilizer is generally the best option to reduce the possibility of losses to the environment and increase nutrient absorption. It may also help your lawn to choose an organic fertilizer to improve the health of your soil in certain cases.
Despite popular belief, choosing to fertilize early in the spring might not be the best time for your lawn. In Texas, homeowners often make the mistake of fertilizing when it begins to warm up, but your lawn might not be ready to wake up from dormancy. This is because the Bermuda and St. Augustine grass that exists in Texas thrives in the warm season, which means neither are ready to break out of dormancy until soil temperatures stay above 70 degrees for several weeks. According to Dr.Green.com, the best time to begin fertilizing for spring in Texas is usually about mid- to late-April each year.
Once you’ve chosen your fertilizer and when to fertilize, make sure you read the directions to avoid making the mistake of using too much. This can harm your lawn and end up costing more than expected. If you use too little, your lawn might not achieve the results intended and can lead to thin stand, causing soil erosion and unwanted runoff.
You can also choose to fertilize your trees and shrubs as most will benefit from the correct type of fertilization. However, make sure to consider the steps above before deicing how much and what type to apply.
Spring is ideal for removing those tough weeds that made it through the winter by applying pre-emergent weed control for weeds like crabgrass. This will create a barrier across the surface of the soil that will prevent the seedlings of weeds from penetrating through.
The right time to apply weed control is during flowering time, also known as forsythia, when your shrubs are in full bloom. In gardens, the best time to begin weed prevention is when you plan to plant flowers or vegetable beds.
Make sure to clear the designated area of weeds before you start planting, so they won’t become more prone to weeds later on. Also consider adding a layer of mulch or straw to further prevent weed germination and growth.
Mulching areas of your yard can do much more than making planting areas look clean and neat. Mulch helps soil retain its moisture, keeps roots cool in the summertime and insulates them during the winter.
Plus, organic moisture is added to the soil as mulch decomposes over time. Adding in a one-inch-thick layer of fresh mulch is ideal for plant beds and around trees but make sure to not let the mulch touch tree trunks as it may prevent the trees from gaining access to oxygen