Spring Yard Maintenance | Minnesota

March No-nos and To-dos

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Feeling the urge to get out in the yard?

Fall-planted bulbs are already pushing up through the mulch, golf courses are opening, and temperatures are waaaay above normal. Spring is an exciting time in Minnesota, especially this year. Some of us just can't wait to get out there in the garden.

But not so fast! It is still much too early to get down and dirty in the yard. Here are a few don'ts and dos for early spring chores.

Before: A warm April spring day

After: Days later, snow on the ground and freezing temps

March Backyard No-Nos

Most backyard chores should be put on hold until the threat of snow has passed. Despite our record-breaking winter, highly fluctuating weather patterns could still bring freezing temps and snow storms.

  1. DO NOT RAKE OR MOW. You will shred the still-tender growth. Your lawn has just started growing. If you allow it to green up on its own, you will have a stronger, healthier lawn. Leave the mower in the shed until May. Then, wait another 5-6 weeks until the end of May to fertilize. De-thatching is a chore usually done in the fall.
  2. DON'T WATER THE LAWN. Even if your irrigation system has been turned on, wait until late May to water your lawn. It is not necessary or recommended to water your lawn during the month of May unless it remains dry and/or the temperatures climb into the 80s or 90s for long stretches at a time.
  3. WAIT TO PRUNE LILACS OR VIBURNUMS UNTIL AFTER THEY ARE DONE BLOOMING. Don’t wait too long after blooming. They will start setting buds during the summer. The best time to prune them is within two to three weeks after the bloom.
  4. WAIT TO PLANT ANNUAL FLOWERS AND CONTAINER GARDENS until the threat of frost has passed, usually around Mother's Day and the Fishing Opener in mid-May.

There will be plenty of time to get your spring chores done. Temperatures in the 60s and 70s this time of year are like found money. Enjoy the time guilt-free, and spend it walking or biking around the lakes or along our trails.


Mid-March To-Dos

If you're still compelled to work outside, you can do a few things.

  1. First, you can clean outdoor furniture and get the grill ready for summer. Washing away the winter muck can be very satisfying! If you're on a roll, you can also sweep sidewalks, clean the garage, and organize your gardening gear.
  2. If it's brown, cut it down. You can cut back grasses and other perennials, opening the crowns to the sun's warmth and early spring rains.
  3. Gardeners can get a jump-start by planting vegetables and perennials in containers indoors before planting them outside in May.
  4. If you have paver patios, walkways, or driveways, a little spring hardscape maintenance may be necessary. Check the joints. Do you see spaces between the pavers where the sand should be? Fresh sand should be swept into the joints before wind-blown seeds take root.
  5. Wait until April and until the ground isn't frozen, then go ahead and water trees and shrubs. Due to the lack of snow this season, they will be extra thirsty when they wake up this spring.
hands holding mulch

A Few More Areas to Tackle

FIX DRAINAGE ISSUES. Did you notice puddles where they shouldn't be during the spring thaw, such as walkways and driveways? Drain tile and catch basins can be installed to encourage water to go where you want it to – away from steps, walkways, foundations, and hardscaping.

MULCH AND TOP DRESS. First, blow leaves and other debris out of the plant beds. Fluff the existing mulch lightly to see how much remains. An ideal mulch depth of 3 inches is ideal. Top-dress the mulch if necessary. Remember to pull mulch back from the bases of trees to prevent mold and decay. It's ok to mulch once the ground has fully thawed and the soil has begun to warm. Mulching too early could delay the thawing process, affect the soil, and cause preventable issues within the garden.

Mulch Madness: When to mulch and why it matters.

TREAT APPLE SCAB. Did your crabapple tree suddenly turn brown and drop its leaves in mid-summer last year? If so, apple scab was likely the cause. Apple Scab can be managed with a foliar spray or trunk-injected fungicide, but these applications need to happen in early spring, right as the buds are breaking. If you have concerns about your crabapple trees, contact a certified arborist.

healthy green lawn

Let us handle the chores. Call (651) 203-3000 to schedule a landscape care consultation.

Not a fan of yard work? We can help!

Not interested in weeding, watering, pruning, mowing, and fertilizing? We don't blame you. Southview landscape managers and crews will keep your property healthy and gorgeous year-round. Call (651) 203-3000 to schedule an appointment with a landscape care pro.

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