Landscape “To-Do’s” for Spring – by Linda Oldham

Dear Neighbors,

Spring time is an excellent opportunity to establish a beautiful landscape around your home. Well groomed yards and gardens have tremendous curb appeal and preserve the value of your home. They also welcome guests and encourage outside activities. The following is a step-by-step approach to getting your yard ready:

  1. Check your trees, shrubs and garden areas for dead plants, leaves and debris that might attract disease then remove debris. Also rake dead leaves off your lawn. The leaves will block the sun and kill your grass.
  2. Prune your deciduous trees and shrubs in early spring when they are dormant. It is easier on the plants and easier to see where pruning is needed. The West Highlands HOA specifies all deciduous trees and trees close to driveways and sidewalks must be pruned to a height of at least 6 feet to allow passage of people and cars. Flowering trees and shrubs should be pruned after they flower. Trees at the front of your house should be pruned to a height no taller than the height of the porch. Bushes should not cover windows or sidewalks.
  3. New mulch should be applied under your bushes, around trees and around the foundation of your home. Pine straw and bark mulch are the best choices. If you place rocks, especially dark rocks, at the base of your plants, if could stunt their growth or kill them. Think about it. Would you like to sit on a bed of black rocks on a really hot day? The roots of your plants will cook in this kind of heat. If you want your mulch to last longer, consider placing landscape fabric on the dirt around the plant before placing the mulch on top. The landscape fabric allows water and nutrients to reach the plant’s roots while blocking weeds.
  4. Control your weeds! Spring is one of the only times you can effectively use pre-emergent weed killers. Don’t wait until hot weather. The crab grass will be impossible to kill without digging it up. Consider using a lawn service. King Green and Arbor-Nomics have been servicing West Highlands’ landscapes with great results. A quick tip: Go out after a soaking rain and pull weeds. It is easy and cheap.
  5. Plant colorful annuals and group potted annuals near the entrance of your home. Easy to grow annuals include petunias, moss roses, snap dragons, marigolds and geraniums. When you plant annuals in your garden, dig a hole twice as big as the base of the plant. Pack about one inch of enriched, commercial garden soil in the hole, place the plant in the hole and then fill the rest of the area around the plant roots with additional commercial garden soil. Water immediately and use your foot or hand to press the soil around the plant. You must get rid of any air pockets.

If you have gardening questions, please email me at Happy Gardening!