By Erin Stackhouse
While much of the country languishes under several feet of snow, here in Vancouver we are being teased by the first glimpses of spring. With recent double-digit temperatures, some trees are already blooming and weeds are already poking out of the soil. With all the action our city sees in early spring, it’s easy to forget the risk of frost still exists through to the end of March. Now is the time to put together an action plan for lawns and gardens to take full advantage when growing season arrives. The following are a few activities worth considering.
A Spring Tune Up addresses the primary issues experienced by lawns after a long winter. This includes moss removal and remediation with fertilizer, lime, aeration to reduce compaction, and additional soil and seed where required.
Many lawns also suffer damage from European Chafer Beetle infestations, when the larvae are largest and most appealing. Keep an eye out for torn up or rolled back turf and monitor the damage. It’s best to deal with when the area is no longer increasing in size and turf can be restored without risk of further damage.
Plant Clean Up
If the fall season got away from you and a clean-up didn’t happen, you’ll be thinking about pruning your perennials and shrubs in preparation for growing season. Although fall clean ups are popular (largely for aesthetic reasons), this delay can be beneficial, as it prevents stimulation of new growth which then suffers from frost and cold temperatures. Leaves left in beds over winter further protect the ground from freezing and provide a layer of insulation to the roots beneath. These are factors to take into consideration when performing a spring clean-up; while some plants (i.e. grasses) can be cut back early without any consequence, pruning some woody plants is best left until the risk of frost has passed.
This is the perfect time to assess your garden’s potential. It’s still too early to be certain exactly which plants survived, but if you’re an avid gardener you likely have some ideas for new plants you want to experiment with. A successful garden is all about placement. Consider which plants on your wish list will get the light and moisture requirements they need to thrive. You may need to move some plants around or consider dividing ones that are outgrowing their locations.
Spring is also a great time for addition of mulch, which will protect from water loss in the heat of summer, provide nutrients, and increase the visual appeal of your garden. This is an especially good time for application because plants are in their dormant state and the job is usually much easier! You may also choose to fertilize, but we recommend a good organic soil amender to provide the necessary nutrients without risk of toxicity. When applying synthetic fertilizers, it may be worth having soil testing done to ascertain whether any deficiency is present.
Hopefully these tips are helpful! If you have any questions regarding our services, please visit our Estimates page or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, enjoy getting those wheels turning while we wait for the onset of spring!