How To Prepare Your Garden for Spring

05/04/2018

Although there are times when the weather can be pretty unpredictable, winter is definitely over. Gardens have been on a break during the last season and now is the perfect time for gardeners to go out there and do some much-needed work.

Your garden will have had to deal with some harsh weather over winter. As such, it’s only logical to give life back to your outdoor space. Consider spring as the ‘make or break’ season for your garden — do things right, and you’ll be all set when summer comes.

Ready your gardening tools and equipment

You can’t begin working in your garden without your tools. They will make your life easier provided that they’re all in their prime conditions. Remember: defective or dirty gardening tools can potentially do more harm than good to your plants.

Regardless of whether you cleaned and stored your tools before winter set in, it’s still necessary to check how they’re doing before using them again. See to it that tools such as spades, trowels, and hoes are all cleaned of any rust and sharpened.

Take the chance to get ahead and check your lawn mower’s manual to see if there is any maintenance that needs to be done before you use it again. You can either choose to do it yourself, or take it to a professional to be serviced.

Tidy up your garden

Your garden has been through a lot during the colder months. Harsh weather, strong and cold winds, frost, and maybe even some snow.

Check over your garden and start by removing any dead annual plants that didn’t make it through the season. Give your garden a good sweep to remove fallen leaves and small branches — but don’t put them straight in the bin (more on this in the next tip).

If you have a greenhouse, check the area for any possible damage and fix any you come across. The same should be done with your fences, trellis, and gates.

Start composting

Set up a compost area in your garden if you haven’t already. Composting is an ideal way to remove the garden waste that you have collected.

Composting is so easy to do that you can just buy a ready-made bin from a store like B&Q or Wickes. If you’d prefer not to buy, you can instead DIY a compost bin from wooden pallets.

Composting is an excellent way to get rid of waste while providing your plants with the nutrients they need. It also means that you shouldn’t need to buy as much fertiliser - if any - which will be easier on your wallet.

So be sure to throw any dead leaves, cuttings, and even some kitchen scraps on your pile.

Pruning

Part of tidying up your garden involves pruning your trees and shrubs. It’s crucial to do so especially if you didn’t do it during the winter. However, keep in mind that not all plants can be pruned at the same time. Do your research first and ask an expert’s advice if you’re unsure.

Pruning not only makes your trees look pleasing, but it also helps them to grow healthy.

Branch removal is advised to remove hazardous branches if they are stretching out near electric lines, or getting too close to a building. A dead tree branch should never be underestimated as it can fall anytime without warning.

Doing any extensive work on a tree can be dangerous, so you should always enlist the help of a professional tree surgeon or arborist.

Scarify your lawn

Scarifying is the process of raking your lawn to remove old grass stems, dead moss and other debris at an acceptable level. This debris, also known as thatch, can prevent water and important nutrients from being absorbed by your plants.

Scarifying the soil in your garden is done using a springtime rake. If there’s a larger area to cover, you may want to consider renting a petrol-driven lawn scarifier. Power tools are also available as well as mower attachments.

Do note, that you have to do it lightly during spring to avoid possibly damaging your turf. Should this happen, there’s a possibility that your lawn will not be able to recover in time for the summer.

Give your soil a breather

Aside from scarifying your lawn, it’s also a must that you aerate it. Aeration is done to decompact the soil and to help with root growth. You do this by making small holes in your soil with a depth of about 10-15 cm. If needed, you can add a mixture of sand and soil conditioner into these holes to prevent them from compacted again.

Doing so will greatly improve drainage and allow for better oxygen circulation. You can use either a plug aerator or spike aerator to make these holes. Early or late spring is the best time to aerate your lawn to get the best results.

Get rid of pests

Slugs and snails are two of the most common pests found in gardens during spring. It’s important that you deal with this problem before you begin planting. Failure to do so will create the perfect feeding frenzy for these pests.

There are a lot of pest control methods that you can use to eradicate these things. However, natural methods are still the best and should always be the first that you try. A good example of such method is the use of toads, frogs, birds, and other animals who’ll prey on the pests.

If you create the ideal conditions for these natural predators, slugs and snails will be much lower down your list of gardening worries.

Weeding

Weeds are also a common problem in spring and summer gardens aside from pests. The key to tackling a weed problem is to deal with them as soon as you see them. Besides, the roots of weeds are a lot easier to pull out while they’re still shallow.

There are various methods to get rid of weeds like pulling, digging, mulching, cultivating, reseeding, etc. Now is also the perfect time to check that your garden hasn’t fallen victim to any green invaders.

English ivy can quickly get out of control and can be difficult to remove once it has taken hold. If you notice any new ivy shoots, quicking remove them before they become established.

Keep an eye out for any japanese knotweed, and if any makes its way into your garden you’ll want to act quickly to destroy it or have it professionally removed. Under no circumstances should this plant be disposed of in general or garden waste collections.

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