Spring clean up is one of the most important landscaping functions, yet it isn’t high on most people’s priority list. Why? I think one reason is that people take the name too literally and approach the task from an aesthetic perspective. However, there’s also a biological reason for cleaning up your yard in the spring.
Sure, cleaning trash the wind blew into your yard, leaves that didn’t make last fall’s clean up and other debris makes your yard look nicer but it also makes the plants healthier. Leaves and other debris left in a wet environment host fungus, mold, rot and other pathogens. These are just part of the decomposition process.
Fungus and bacteria are fine in your compost pile. You want them to do their thing there, but not in your planting beds. When they’re finished digesting the scraps in the pile, they have nothing more to eat and the heat of decomposition destroys them, leaving clean compost for your planting beds.
Don’t be in a hurry to remove winter mulch or to turn the soil and plant. Let the soil warm up and dry to the point that it isn’t muddy. However, if there are weeds peeking through the mulch, carefully pull them up before they become established.
Also clean up any dead plants that are still in the beds. You may not have had a chance to trim away dead herbaceous perennials. If that’s the case, remove them during your spring clean up so that the perennials can regrow this year. If there are any annuals left in the beds, pull them up and put them in the compost pile.
If you don’t have a border around your planting beds, edging is another spring clean up task. Using either a manual or power edger, remove soil that has migrated from the bed into the lawn, or grass from the lawn that has grown into the bed. Start the season with nice, crisp lines separating the planting beds from the lawn.
Unless you like a natural look, you might put installing edging material around beds on your list of spring and summer jobs. There are lots of edging materials available, including wood, stones, pavers, metal, plastic and rubber. This will discourage the merger of planting beds and lawn.
If you have a fountain or water feature, it will surely need cleaning, and there’s no time like the present. If you have fish, you, hopefully, have been keeping the water feature clean all winter.
We know that spring clean up isn’t the most satisfying garden or landscape task, but we know it’s important, as you may have gathered by reading this. So, we offer spring clean up service. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact us.