Most of us are pretty excited for spring to hurry up and get here. That is, until the snow melts and we realize how much work the yard needs to look beautiful again! Spring cleaning is a big job, but if you check off 1-2 of these tasks every weekend, you’ll have your Metropolitan Quad Cities garden ready for spring in no time.
- Cut back the dead foliage on ornamental grasses to about 4” to allow new growth to filter through.
- Trim back dead foliage on perennials to allow new growth to come through. If you had a deep layer of mulch over some of your perennials, pull it back once you notice new growth coming up.
- Divide any crowded summer-blooming perennials, and relocate the divisions to new locations. Don’t divide these perennials in spring: bearded iris, Easter lilies, stargazer lilies, sweet woodruff, and yellow alyssum. These should all be divided in the fall instead.
- Pull out the remains of any annuals leftover from last summer.
- Prep your garden and flower beds for the new growing season by turning the soil, adding compost, pulling weeds as soon as you see them, and working in an organic slow-release fertilizer like Bio-Flora Dry Crumbles 6-10-1 + 10%CA.
- Inspect all your trees and shrubs for signs of winter kill, bug infestation, or disease. Destroy any diseased limbs, keep them far away from your compost heap!
- Prune summer-flowering shrubs to encourage bushier growth. Prune deadwood and winterkill from any trees and shrubs.
- Prep damaged lawn areas, whether from pets, winterkill, or just sparse areas. Rake up the area to remove dead grass and loosen up the top layer of soil. Sprinkle a mixture of fresh soil, grass seed, and organic fertilizer like Bio-Flora Dry Crumbles or Soil Source. You’ll need to water these spots daily (unless it rains!) until the grass is well-established.
- Cut clean edges for the lawn before it starts to green up. It’s much easier to avoid killing grass by cutting smooth, clean lines when the grass hasn’t grown over into the edges of your garden beds, pathways, or driveway.
- Check your paving stones. Winter frost may cause pavers to heave or sink. Dig them out, re-level the base underneath them, and re-lay them.
- Refill paver and path seams. If snowmelt and rainwater have washed away any of the seam fillers, sand, or gravel in your pathways, refill those spots.
- Power wash any stains on your driveway or paths.
- Compost the yard waste you collect. Fallen leaves are an excellent brown matter to get your composter going in the spring!
- Clean up leaf-litter, but do it carefully. Lots of beneficial bugs, like ladybugs and solitary bees, hibernate in leaf litter. Try not to clean up too much leaf litter until you’re starting to see the bugs waking up and moving around during the day.
The sooner you get started on this spring garden clean-up checklist, the sooner you’ll be able to get to the fun part of spring gardening: shopping for plants! If you need any tools, or advice, or clean-up supplies, (or if you just want to start plant shopping early, we won’t judge!) visit our garden center in Moline. We stock all the supplies you need to get your yard looking spiffy for spring.