Spring at last… almost! The official first day of spring is March 21, but in Southwest Louisiana, we are already feeling spring in the air. That means there’s no time like the present to get your yard ready for the growing and blooming season.
Chad Everage with Landscape Management says the earlier you can invest some time and attention preparing your yard for spring, the better your results will be. “As the plants and ground ‘wake up’ from their dormant winter state – especially with the harsh winter storm we experience in February – there are steps you need to take to welcome them back. Some plants that died during the freeze need to be replaced. Now is the right time to do this.
A lot of people don’t give their yard a second thought until the grass starts growing and shrubs and flowers start budding. By then, Everage says you are well into the growing season and you’ve missed a short window of opportunity to do some simple prep work that can make a big difference throughout the spring and summer. He recommends going on a scouting inspection as soon as you can. “Walk your entire yard and look for any damage that occurred to trees, shrubs, fencing, lawn and other areas over winter. That will give you the starting point for your spring landscaping to-do list.”
He offers the following guidelines to help you get started:
It probably doesn’t look like much at this point, but it won’t be long before the grass is growing out of control. Rake away all the dried up dead grass and weeds first. “This is very important,” Everage says, “because anything you add, such as new seed or fertilizer will simply sit on the top of the dead grass and any other debris, rather than getting down into the soil.”
If your lawn already needs a mowing, set the mower blades at their highest setting, just to trim off the top. Spread grass seed over any bare spots in the yard. Consider adding slow release fertilizer and/or weed stopper to your yard. Most lawns need this, according to Everage. “If you are uncertain about what to use, just ask. There are a variety of grass fertilizer options to address specific issues you might be having in your yard.”
If you need to prune ornamental trees and shrubs, Everage says the best time to do so is before growth starts. “The exceptions to that rule are spring-flowering shrubs. For those, you need to wait until after they finish flowering.”
Clean Your Garden Beds
Cut down any perennial foliage remaining from last year and clean the beds out. Remove all of the old mulch, leaves and branches. Everage says it’s important to remove as much of the old mulch as possible so that it doesn’t build up and smother your plants. You should also check around the base of any woody trees and shrubs to make sure there is no mulch left around the trunks. If there is, remove it so that it doesn’t cause the wood to rot. Define the edge around your beds and then put down a fresh layer of mulching material before adding any new plants.
This is a good time to remove as many weeds as possible before they have the opportunity to flower and seed. Everage says if you need an incentive, consider this: some weeds can produce as many as 10,000 seeds each. “If you don’t take care of it now, you’ll have a lot more weeding to do in the hot, humid months ahead.”
Plant and Transplant
March is a good time to plant new roses, berries, fruit trees and most deciduous (leaf-shedding) plants. If you’re still not sure what to plant, Everage says ask for advice. “If you want to move a plant from one spot to another, do so as soon as you can. It’s best to do this before annual spring growth begins.”
Pick your Perennials
Take a look around your yard and decide if you can brighten it up with a few new colors. Everage says to be sure to pay attention to the amount of sunlight and the soil conditions in the area of your yard you are planting before you make any purchases.
For a complete landscape design and installation, call Landscape Management at (337) 478-3836 or stop by Landscape Management’s retail nursery in Lake Charles.