With temperatures slowly rising and snow banks slowly sinking, many of us are getting our first looks at what the long, snowy winter months have left behind.
Between the plow and frost damage, as well as the debris left behind from trees and shrubs, there is plenty of work to be done in the coming weeks.
First things, first: We have to get rid of all this snow and those towering snow piles.
One of the first things we notice as the snow lines recede are the damage along driveways, sidewalks and parking lots from plows and snow blowers.
Most of the damage is superficial, but some of the damage can be more significant, especially from plowing in earlier and later storms when the ground was soft enough for the blades to scrape off layers of sod and truck tires to sink down causing deep ruts in the ground.
This will not only damage the sod, but can be dangerous pitfalls that lead to twisted ankles and other such injuries. The uneven ground can also damage your mowing and weed trimming equipment as blades and trimmer heads will hit the earth and stones that have been left behind.
It’s a good time to take stock in your lawn equipment and go down a maintenance check list to ensure long life and efficiency.
To make this easier, it is recommended to store your lawn mowers, tractors, weed whackers, blowers, rototillers, etc. inside a shed or basement to protect them from the harsh winter and prevent rusting and engine seize.
If this is not possible, then use a cover sold at most equipment dealers or hardware centers. Even a simple tarp will add adequate coverage for most power equipment and keep out the ice and snow.
Also don’t forget to unhook the batteries of the larger equipment to either drain or treat the gasoline for storage.
Once the cover comes off, charge all batteries and inspect the equipment for damage before reattaching them and filling them up with fresh gasoline.
It’s also a good time of year for oil changes and other basic maintenance such as greasing all moving parts.
Next it’s onto the actual spring cleanups once the rest of the snow and ice melts and the ground begins to firm up.
If you didn’t do a fall cleanup, then this part becomes exponentially more labor intensive as all the leaves and branches from the fall become a matted-down, wet and soggy mess on the lawn that will choke out the sod and leave you with dead patches of lawn.
It is highly recommended to take the time and dethatch your lawn when the ground becomes firm enough and before the lawn goes back to its full-growth cycle. Dethatching removes the old brown thatch that is robbing the root system of good aeration, water and nutrients.
It also allows any fertilizers you use to become more effective.
This simple process, which can be done mechanically or by hand with rakes, will make a noticeable improvement to your lawn and help it turn greener and repair itself much quicker.
When working in garden beds, cut out dead branches and clear out any debris to promote new growth.
Especially if you mulch, leaves and pine needles won’t add any nutrients that aren’t already there. If left unchecked they can also lead to mold and mildew growing in the mulch and flower beds.
Most basic lawn care and spring cleanups include raking out the lawn and garden beds, removing branches and other debris from the property, re-mulching or fluffing up and cleaning out existing mulch, cutting out the dead organic matter in the beds, trees and shrubs, fixing up plow damage, applying spring fertilizers and weed control, weeding out garden beds, and other basic maintenance.
Aside from aerating and dethatching, it is also a good idea to check out those gutters. Make sure to clean them out and inspect that they are working properly, as this simple maintenance can literally save you thousands of dollars in potential roof and siding damage for what can usually be done for $100 or less in a professional gutter cleaning service.
We are still well within the frost danger zone here in the northeast, so it’s best to wait on those annual flowers and vegetables for outside.
However, once the daytime temperatures get steadily back into the 50s, then a simple cold frame will help you acclimate your plants and saplings by placing them outside for an increasing amount of time each day.
But be careful of those night-time temperatures that can easily drop to freezing or below.
Once your property is cleaned out, simply enjoy the hard-earned spring we have to look forward to in the coming weeks. Get outside and look around, if you don’t have the time or the know-how to properly maintain your most precious investment, then call your local landscaping professional or contractor.
Chances are, the price to protect and even increase that investment is a lot cheaper than you think!
Categories: Fertilization, Home Improvement (Outside), Lawn and Garden, Molds/Mildew, Mother Nature, Patios & Walkways, Pests and Insects, Pressure Washing, Retaining Walls and Drainage, Seasonal Maintenance