Get Your Southern Maryland Landscaping Ready for Spring in 8 Steps

Kimberly Bean
Kimberly Bean
Published on March 19, 2018

The calendar finally reads March 20, 2018 — the day anyone who loves getting dirty in the backyard has longed for.

It’s the first day of spring, and even though you might be ready, your garden may not be.
In fact, before stepping one foot onto your home’s landscaping, “give the soil the ‘squirt’ test,” cautions landscape contractor Roger Cook at thisoldhouse.com.

“Step down hard on the ground,” he says. “If water squirts up around your boot, stay out.” Walking on soggy soil may cause compaction problems. So, if water does squirt out of the soil, wait a couple of days and try the test again.

No matter what your soil test says, there are plenty of things you can do to get you and your yard ready for spring.

Make a plan

If your beds need a facelift, put your plan on paper. Which plants will you remove, and what plants will replace them? Draw diagrams of different locations in your beds to see which spot fits best.

Check your gardening equipment
You can’t make clean cuts with dull tools,  so if your pruners and mower blades ar on the dull side, have them professionally sharpened. If you’d rather go the DIY route, you’ll find a walkthrough of the sharpening process online at familyhandyman.com or see Martha Stewart’s video. Don’t forget to give the lawnmower a tune-up, too.
Prune trees and shrubs
As long as there’s still a frost danger, it’s not a good idea to prune frost-sensitive shrubs isn’t a good idea. Hardier perennials, though, will take to pruning well. First, get rid of damaged and dead branches. Those that are damaged can be cut back to live tissue, but dead branches should be completely pruned away.
Cut back perennials
Cut down your flowering perennials to a height of about 6 inches. Ornamental grasses should be pruned to 4 to 5 inches in height.
Wait to prune roses until right after the last frost, just before the plant breaks dormancy. Better Homes and Gardens offers tips on rose pruning.
Clean up beds and borders
Once the pruning is finished, it’s time for cleanup. A leaf vacuum or blower will rid the yard of whatever winter blew in, but you may need a rake for the larger, heavier items.
Use the leaf vacuum or blower to get rid of accumulated leaves and twigs and a rake for larger items, such as branches.
How’s the soil?
Although the soil amending process is ideally performed in fall, it can be done in spring. As soon the weather permits, aerate and amend the soil in your beds and borders. It’s not a quick task, but it will pay off in the long run.
Pull back the mulch from around your current plantings, and use a garden fork to carefully loosen the top 2 to 3 inches of soil (don’t disturb the plant’s roots). Then, lay down about 3 inches of compost, and use the fork to mix it into the soil around the plant. Then, replace the mulch, if it’s still in good shape.
Cook recommends replacing the mulch each year, but we know that can get a bit pricey, especially in large yards. If it’s still in good condition, rake the beds to ensure even mulch coverage.
Thinking of adding some color for summer?
Consider the following bulbs, which can be planted now:

  • Asiatic lilies
  • Oriental lilies
  • Crocosmia (Crocosmia aurea)
  • Chinese ground orchids (Bletilla striata)
  • Hardy Begonia (Begonia grandis)

If the lawn has dried out, give it a good raking to get rid of all the debris that flew in over the winter. If you rake deeply, you’ll also solve thatch problems. Then, inspect the lawn for signs of moss, soil compaction, and bare spots.
HGTV and Today’s Homeowner offer walk-throughs of early spring lawn care tips.

Mechanicsville MD Homes for Sale and Real Estate Services in Southern Maryland. You now have a search engine to help you with your Southern Maryland home search! And I’m ready to provide you with a custom home valuation if you’re considering selling your home. Let’s connect to discuss how I can help you. Contact Kimberly Bean at 301-440-1309

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