If you love gardening, landscaping, or just spending time outdoors on your property, then the arrival of spring weather might seem almost like a second Christmas!
It’s a wonderful gift, but certainly, it can be a lot of work too—whether you have a sprawling estate or just a small city plot. And if you want your landscape to look it’s absolute best all year long (and for years to come), there are several items you’ll definitely want to check off your spring landscaping checklist.
Here are a few things to keep in mind this season.
Identify and Repair Winter Lawn Damage
Michigan winters aren’t just rough on people. They can be rough on grass and plants, too! Examine your landscape carefully for any obvious signs of damage, including:
- Circular patches of grayish or pinkish grass. This is a common sign of snow mold, a fungal lawn infection. Grayish snow mold is usually less serious (but still important to address), while a pink hue generally indicates that damage has extended beyond the blades to the roots and crowns.
- Patchy brownish or orangish grass. Quite often this is a byproduct of de-icing salts damaging your grass. Fortunately, your grass probably just needs some extra water, and potentially a gypsum (calcium sulfate) soil conditioner to help break down any remaining salts.
- Rodent damage. If you notice surface tunnels, lines in the grass, or “volcanos” of soil, you’ve probably got a problem with moles, voles, or other rodent pests.
You can check out this blog post for more info on diagnosing, treating, and preventing common winter lawn problems, or give us a call if you have any concerns.
Aerate and Dethatch Your Lawn
In order to survive and thrive, the soil needs both a steady supply of moisture and nutrients and a way to easily transport those nutrients to where they need to go. However, this is sometimes easier said than done.
One potential problem is that your soil has become hard and compacted. In this case, even though air and nutrients can reach the surface, they have a hard time getting down to the roots.
Another possibility is that layers of thatch (dead grass) can build up on top of your lawn too quickly. A little thatch is good since it can act as a naturally insulating mulch and it gets broken down into organic material and nutrients by microbes. But too much thatch will start blocking needed air and moisture from reaching the soil.
Compact soil is dealt with by aeration. If you’re handling it on your own, you’ll need to soften the soil with an inch of water over the entire lawn, then use the aerator the next day to break up the soil. Small yards can be dethatched with a specialized dethatching rake. After either procedure, you will want to follow up with fertilizer and lots of water to help the grass recover.
Of course, if you need help—or don’t know whether your lawn actually needs either of these services—give Bosch’s a call. We’ll analyze your soil, figure out what needs to be done and do it with our specialized equipment.
Fertilize Your Lawn
Ideally, you should be applying fertilizer several times throughout the year to ensure it stays healthy and strong, starting in early spring with a spring or pre-emergent fertilizer. Once the soil temperature reaches about 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit consistently, you should be ready to go.
Fertilizing in spring helps your lawn establish deep, healthy root systems that can keep it healthy and nourished even during the hottest parts of the summer. It can also help with weed control.
Generally speaking, the best spring fertilizers tend to be relatively high in nitrogen content and are “slow-release,” meaning they break down over time to provide your lawn with steady nutrition over a longer period.
Need help with this? Bosch’s provides exceptional fertilization services, tailored to the needs of your lawn.
Prune Trees and Shrubs (if You Haven’t Already)
Regular pruning is an important part of keeping plants healthy. Damaged and dying stems invite pests and disease, which can ultimately jeopardize the life of the entire plant.
The dormant season is typically the best time to prune most varieties of trees and shrubs. Clearing out damaged or diseased branches now helps them heal faster and encourages healthy growth. So if you haven’t done any pruning all winter long, the early spring is your best (and last) chance before the growing season fully blooms!
Of course, you need to know how to identify a branch or stem that needs pruning in the first place, and you’ll also need to know how to prune them appropriately. Cut a branch too short, and the tree could get infected. Leave it too long, though, and the ends could wither.
Don’t worry. The experts at Bosch’s have the extensive knowledge and tools to provide exactly the pruning care your trees, shrubs, and flowerbeds need—right when they need them.
Clean Out Your Gardens
Perhaps you left your plants in the fall to provide seeds for winter birds or create an attractive picture during the cold season. When the weather starts to turn in spring, though, it is time to clean out and clear up your garden.
Cut down dead stalks and foliage from the previous season, and compost everything except diseased plant material. Try not to turn the soil too much, since you don’t want to kill off essential nutrients in the upper layers.
Get Rid of the Weeds
It’s really important to get out ahead of the weeds as early as possible in the year. Spring is the optimal time to do this before the weeds have a chance to reach full maturity. If you do your heavy weeding now, you’ll end up saving yourself a lot of work (and your landscape a lot of nuisance).
We strongly recommend using a pre-emergent weed killer; unfortunately, there is often a very narrow time window to apply this and get the full effect. (If you get regular lawn maintenance services from us, this is something we will do for you.)
Pull out all the weeds by their roots if possible, and then either burn or dispose of them. If you compost, you do not want to fill your composter with weeds and their seeds. This can cause disaster later in the year.
When weeding, be careful not to disturb new growth, but you should be brutal with the weeds you find. If not, you’ll be battling them all season long!
When spring rolls around, it’s time to get planting! Hardier annuals and flowers can often be planted in April, while plants that are more susceptible to frost might benefit from waiting until May.
Of course, it’s not just the time of year that matters here. Different types of flowers and plants have varying requirements in terms of soil conditions, water, and sunlight that allow them to grow best. You’ll also want to make sure your flowerbeds are healthy and disease-free.
Once again, Bosch’s can be a huge help here.
For one, we can help you pick out flowers and plants that will thrive in specific locations around your property and provide beauty all year long.
For two, we’ll help tidy up your planting beds with the appropriate fertilization, weeding, pruning, mulching, and other tasks that may be required.
And if you wish, we’ll be happy to come back and care for flower beds on a monthly basis, providing any additional disease control and treatment that may be required to keep your plants healthy and beautiful.
Rebark Woodchip Areas
If you use woodchips, bark, or other hard, organic materials as mulch around flower beds and trees, cushioning for play areas, or other reasons, you should be “rebarking” once per year—ideally in early spring.
Woodchips, remember, do break down and decompose over time—as any organic material would. If you aren’t regularly replacing them, the layer will gradually thin and lose its ability to protect your soil from erosion, weeds, desiccation, and wild temperature swings.
Plus, there are also aesthetic considerations. A weathered woodchip looks dull and gray, and much less vibrant and striking than a fresh one.
Bosch’s is happy to help you rebark this spring! We know exactly how deep the layer should be in order to provide maximum benefit to your landscape.
Examine and Clean Up Decks, Patios, and Outdoor Furniture
If your home has an exposed deck or patio, you’ll want to make sure they survived the winter in good shape, and that any trouble spots are swiftly addressed.
If you have a wooden deck, you’ll definitely want to perform a spring safety inspection. Check for mold, mildew, rot, discolored patches, grimy surfaces, loose railings, or even nails or screws that seem out of place. These are not only cosmetic blemishes but can actually compromise the structural integrity and safety of your deck if not addressed in a timely fashion.
Decks should be cleaned with an environmentally friendly cleaner and scrub brush, ideally on a cloudy and cool day. (It’s easier on the wood). Patios and any furniture that you left out over the season should also be inspected and cleaned in a matter appropriate for whatever materials they’re made from.
Get Ready to Mow
With the warming temperatures, disappearing snow, and increasing rain showers, your grass should be starting to grow again—and that means it’s time to get the mower back out of the garage. In Michigan, the “mowing season” typically starts in April, although this varies based on the weather conditions.
Before you begin, remember to give your lawnmower (and any other lawn maintenance equipment you own) a thorough inspection. Clean and replace parts as needed for optimal function and longevity.
Remember that you have to be careful with your mowing to avoid damaging your lawn. You should always try to keep your grass within a range of lengths that looks good and allows the grass to grow and flourish.
If your grass is turning yellow or brown after a fresh cut, you likely have your mower set too low and are over-cutting the lawn. On the other hand, letting your grass get too long can also be problematic—especially if your next cut reduces the height of the blades by more than one-third.
If you have trouble mowing a large lawn, or just don’t want to deal with the regular upkeep, Bosch’s offers lawn mowing and edging services from April through November. Just give us a call and we’ll agree upon a cutting schedule based on your needs.
Professional Service and Quality Every Time
Bosch’s landscapers are pros who take pride in their work, stand by their recommendations, and offer prompt and high-quality service to all our customers, residential and commercial. When you hire Bosch, you can be confident that you’ll be treated well—and so will your lawn!
To request your free estimate today, call us at (616) 399-6861 or use our online contact form and we’ll get back to you soon during our standard hours.