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Bid farewell to winter, as spring is finally in the air. The frigid cold of a St. Louis winter can tend to leave your yard looking a bit disheveled with leaves matted to the lawn, winter weeds popping up, and bushes and trees in need of a good grooming. Now is the time to dig in and bring that garden back to life. Here are a few tips to help you get ready for spring.
Rake and Weed Your Lawn
Leaves can be a good mulch for plants, but if you have an excess of them, the underlying soil and plants will not receive enough sunlight which can lead to soil rot. So, give the yard a good raking and add the leaves to a compost pile to produce good soil for future use. Rake out your flower beds so you have access for grooming and any weed pulling that is necessary.
And while weeding is no one's favorite past time, this is the time to do it as the weeds will have shallow roots and the soil is still moist from the melting snow. By eliminating them now, you’ll avoid any chance of them seeding and spreading further.
Plant Your Seedlings
It’s best to wait for the full and warm arrival of spring to plant your seedlings in the ground, but you can always get the seeds started in your home. You have two options to procure your seeds – buy them or use the seeds from your produce. If you choose to use the seeds from your produce, allow them to dry out for a day or two prior to planting to achieve the best results. No need to spend a ton of money on pots for the seedlings, as you can use a muffin tin, egg carton, paper cups, etc., just so long as you are able to create drainage or add pebbles to the bottom for aeration. Plant your seeds at the proper depth with potting soil and set them in a warm place such as a window sill so they can get some sunshine and keep them moist with a spray bottle. Once they’re large enough and the weather is warm enough they will be ready to go into the ground.
Groom Your Existing Plants
The end of winter and early spring is the perfect time to groom and prune your shrubs and trees. Remove any damaged or unhealthy branches to assure that the healthy part of the plant is receiving the nutrients it needs. Prune flowering plants and vines to remove any dead wood and leaves, as this not only shapes the plant, it also encourages flowering and enhances their appearance.
Care for Your Perennials
Inspect your perennials and prune back and part of the plant that has been damaged by frost. Check the rooting as well, as the frozen ground sometimes pushes the root systems to the surface. If this is the case, gently dig around the base and put the root further back into the ground. You can always add additional soil as well to assure the roots are not exposed. If you notice that your perennials are clumping, as long as they’re not already in bloom, go ahead and divide them to spread them out.
The best time to fertilize your lawn is in the spring when the ground temperature reaches 55 degrees. Be sure to read the label on the fertilizer to determine if the lawn should be watered prior to fertilizing or after. You don’t want to over or under fertilize so also pay attention to the application rate the specific brand recommends.
Spring is here, time to get outside and soak in some Vitamin D. There’s a lot to do to prepare your yard for spring but once those flowers start to bloom it will be well worth it. What are some of your springtime gardening tips?