Revive Your Yard for Summer
Spring in the Pacific Northwest has arrived! Warmer weather is on the way, the birds are singing and flowers are blooming. With the sun beginning to shine on the Northwest it is a perfect time to start thinking about your yard and ways to improve the exterior landscaping of your home. Knock the rust off the gardening tools and get started so that you can enjoy those summer nights in the comfort of your own outdoor living area. Below are a few ideas to get you started in preparing your yard for a much anticipated summer.
- Get your tools ready as you make sure they are in good shape. Sharpening your pruners, loppers, spades and mower blades, and having your mower tuned up can help you be ready for the work ahead.
- Gather up twigs and other debris. Pick up any twigs or branches you see lying around, and cut back dead perennials and grasses. Remove debris from your garden beds and check the soil for fungus or pest infestations that need to be taken care of. Replace or reset any edging that’s been displaced so your beds look neat and tidy.
- Trim shrubs and trees (well, some of them). Not every ornamental shrub or bush responds well to spring pruning; in fact, by trimming now, you could be eliminating flowers or fruits later on. So read up on your specific types of shrubs and trees and use your pruners only on those where a spring trim is recommended. The National Arbor Day Foundation has some good general pruning tips on its site.
- Dethatch your lawn. Dethatching uses a rake (or a special dethatching tool) to gently remove the dead grass that’s preventing new, fresh shoots from emerging. By dethatching, you also make it easier for nutrients to reach the soil, promoting healthy root growth for grass and other plants. Plus, you make it a lot more difficult for harmful insects and fungi to set up shop.
- Re-seed bare patches. But first, have a soil test to make sure your yard has the nutrients it needs to support lush plant growth. You can buy a DIY kit at most hardware or big-box retailers (or online) or you might ask your local cooperative extension service if they offer soil testing for your area. All that dethatching and aerating you did in step 4? Now’s when it pays off by making it a lot easier for fertilizer and other amendments to soak into the soil. Once the soil is amended, choose your grass seed based on your region, rainfall and the amount of sunlight the area receives.
Spring yard work can be a fun and refreshing way to spend a weekend, and devoting some time to your yard and garden now, you can reap the rewards of your labor with a lush landscape when the summer sun starts to shine.