Lawn & Garden Care

Some helpful tips for gardeners

Fertilizing: If you feed your lawn a couple of times a year, a light application of lawn food in early spring will help get your lawn off to a great start. Keep it light, though, and use a slow-release or organic fertilizer. Wait to fertilize until your lawn needs mowing for the first time.

Spring flower garden care:

  • Don’t be in a rush to remove winter mulch or to cut back evergreen plants such as lavender until temperatures are reliably warm.
  • Freeze and thaw cycles over the winter may given some of your plants the heave-ho. Replant any perennials that the frost has heaved out of the ground as soon as you can.
  • Cut back any remaining dead perennial foliage from last season (trimmings can go into the compost).
  • Cut back ornamental grasses to about 10 inches from the ground.
  • Remove winter protection of mounded earth from roses. Prune rose bushes before they start to leaf out.
  • Resist the urge to start digging in your flower beds too early. You can damage the soil’s structure. If you pick up a handful of soil, it should fall apart, not stick together like glue. When it’s dry enough, you can start to dig beds and add compost or manure in preparation for planting.
  • Grass growth is vigorous in the early spring garden, so edge your flower beds with a sharp trench between them and the grass to keep it in bounds. Repeat this job a couple of times through the season, or installing permanent edging goes a long way towards having a lower maintenance flower garden.

Spring lawncare

Starting a new lawn from seed:Though fall is the ideal time to start a new lawn from seed, you can also do it in spring. Don’t wait until late spring, though: Give your lawn a chance to grow in and get established before summer temperatures arrive.

Attacking crabgrass: Because crabgrass and other annual weeds need to sprout from seeds each year, a well-timed application of pre-emergence herbicide can do wonders for keeping these pests at bay. Spread the pre-emergence herbicide as forsythia blooms in your area start to drop.

Aerating: If your lawn doesn’t grow well due to compacted soil, springtime — when your grass is in active growth — is a great time to aerate. This loosens the soil, allowing grass roots to reach deeper and the soil to absorb moisture better.

Mowing: Start mowing once your grass reaches about 3 inches tall. It’s best keep most turf types in this region at least 2 inches tall — this helps the grass ward off weeds and withstand summer drought.

Fertilizing: If you feed your lawn a couple of times a year, a light application of lawn food in early spring will help get your lawn off to a great start. Keep it light, though, and use a slow-release or organic fertilizer. Wait to fertilize until your lawn needs mowing for the first time.

Summer lawncare

Controlling grubs: Attack grubs and keep them from destroying your lovely lawn with a grub-control product that continues to work throughout the season. Apply your grub control in early June.

Mowing: Watch how your lawn grows. During hot, dry periods, it may only need mowing once every two or three weeks (when the grass grows about 3 inches tall). During cooler, moister periods, it may need mowing twice a week.

Watering: It’s fine to let your grass go dormant during drought. It’ll turn brown, but it’ll stay alive and then will go green and start growing when the rains come again. If you don’t want a brown summer lawn, select drought-tolerant types such as buffalo grass or plan on giving your lawn about 1 inch of water a week.