A few weeks ago, I recommended that you not venture into the garden due to soggy conditions. Well, the snow has melted, the sun has warmed the ground, and it’s now safe to walk on your grass and into most of your planting beds without fear of sinking in or leaving footprints.
Winter can leave even the most beautiful landscape somewhat messy. The wind blows debris from the neighborhood that ends up in your yard. Twigs and branches break off and dot your lawn. Your plow guy leaves big divots of grass from beside the driveway in the center of your yard.
You should pick up the debris, including twigs and branches. Let the twigs and branches remind you to look up into your trees. There may still be broken branches up there that are still partially attached. We call them hangers. They should be removed by our arborists as soon as possible to prevent them from falling on people or property.
To replace divots from your driveway edge, carefully lift them from their resting place on your lawn and piece them together along the edge. You can cut the pieces to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Rough up the soil before laying divots in place. Then walk on the replaced sod so the grass roots make contact with the soil underneath. Finally, water well. This is the way we lay sod.
In a year like this, with a great deal of freezing and thawing, you may suffer significant heaving. This is when the soil movement causes plants and pavers to rise up or sink. See my March 20 post for repair tips for hardscapes like pavers. Plants that have heaved or sunk need to be replanted. Dig them up and replant them if the soil is dry enough. If the soil is too wet, but roots are showing, stake them up until you can replant. Cover the exposed roots with soil. Leaning plants whose roots aren’t showing may be staked into an upright position. Don’t leave the stakes or lines on the plants for more than a year. Keep an eye on them to see if they decline or appear stressed. If so, you’ll have to replant tem. Sunken plants have to be dug up; soil has to be added to the hole and the plant replanted so it is higher in the hole..
Also rake up any leaves that you didn’t get to last fall and check trees and shrubs for animal damage. Remove any extra mulch you spread on beds and fluff up the remaining mulch. If you didn’t add mulch, just fluff up the mulch that you do have. Finally, make an appointment for our Plant Health Care professionals to apply dormant oil to your trees and shrubs. This diluted petroleum jelly will smother a lot of overwintering insects while they are dormant. Also ask us to check any plants that suffered animal damage and we’ll make repair recommendations.