What Yard Work Should Be Done in The Spring?

Spring Yard Work

Spring is in the Air

Fall-planted bulbs are already pushing up through the mulch, golf courses are opening, and temperatures are rising steadily. Spring is an exciting time in Minnesota. For homeowners, early Spring marks the perfect moment to dive into a flurry of yard chores, preparing our outdoor spaces for the vibrant season ahead. From rejuvenating the lawn to reviving flower beds, here's a comprehensive guide that will have your outdoor oasis flourishing in no time.

green and vibrant lawn with decorative wall

Once the ground is fuly thawed, consider aerating your lawn to promote healthy root growth and maintain a lush, vibrant lawn all season long.

Lawn Care

In spring, Minnesota's lawns awaken from their winter slumber, demanding attention to flourish in the coming months. While it may be tempting to jump into lawn maintenance at the first sign of spring, most professionals recommend waiting until May or until conditions are more predictable. This approach sets the stage for more effective and beneficial lawn care practices, ultimately leading to a healthier and more resilient lawn. If aerating in the Spring, follow up with freqient watering for a couple of weeks.


  • Avoid raking, if possible. This precaution minimizes damage to the tender grass shoots that have been dormant over the winter.
  • Keep the mower in the shed until May. This delay ensures that the grass has had ample time to recover from the stresses of winter and encourages a more robust root system.
  • A round of fertilization replenishes essential nutrients, ensuring lush green grass.
  • As temperatures rise, so does the need for diligent watering, especially in newly seeded areas.
  • For more information, check out this convenient lawn care calendar from the University of Minnesota Exemption.
backyard patio overlooking modern garden beds

Early Spring is a good time to clear winter debris from garden beds, but refrain from planting until the threat of frost has passed to ensure the safety and success of your plants.

Garden Preparation

Prepare your garden beds for planting by clearing away any remaining debris from last season. Take the opportunity to edge the beds for a clean and tidy appearance. Amend the soil with compost or organic matter to replenish nutrients and improve soil structure. This creates an optimal growing environment for your plants and encourages strong root development.

While it may still be a bit early to plant tender annuals outdoors, you can start seeds indoors for warm-season crops like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. Transplant them outdoors once the threat of frost has passed, typically around mid to late May in Minnesota.


  • There is a little saying in the landscaping industry - "If it's brown, cut it down". Grasses and other perennials should be cut back, opening the crowns to the sun’s warmth and early spring rains.
  • While it's tempting to purchase annuals as soon as they hit the shelves at your local nursery, it's important to wait until the danger of frost has passed. In Minnesota, this typically occurs around mid to late May.
  • Blow leaves and other debris out of the plant beds. Fluff the hardwood mulch lightly. A mulch depth of 3 inches is ideal. Top-dress the mulch if necessary. Pull mulch back from the bases of trees to prevent mold and decay.

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garden beds with cedar mulch

Prepare your Minnesota garden for spring by clearing debris, testing and amending soil, lightly fluffing mulch and planning plantings for the season ahead.

Pruning & Trimming

Inspect your trees, shrubs, and perennials for any dead or damaged branches and prune them back to encourage healthy growth. Be mindful of any plants that may be setting buds for spring blooms and avoid pruning them until after they have finished flowering. Trim back overgrown hedges and bushes to maintain their shape and promote bushier growth.


  • April is the ideal time to prune trees, shrubs and perennials.
  • Different plants have different pruning needs. Research the specific requirements for each plant in your garden to ensure you're pruning at the right time and in the right way.
  • Make sure your pruning tools are sharp and clean to make clean cuts and prevent the spread of diseases. Disinfect your tools between plants, especially if you're dealing with diseased branches.
  • For more pruning tips, visit the University of Minnesota Extension.
perennial garden

Cutting back perennials in April promotes new growth, prevents disease, improves aesthetics, and prepares plants for the upcoming growing season.


In Minnesota, perennials are best planted as soon as the ground thaws and temperatures begin to warm, typically in late April to May. These resilient plants provide bursts of color year after year, making them a valuable addition to any garden.


  • Early spring is the perfect time to divide and transplant perennials that have become overcrowded or outgrown their space. This not only rejuvenates the plants but also allows you to expand your garden or share with friends.
  • In the spring, laying the groundwork for healthy perennials begins with diligent soil preparation. Incorporating compost or organic matter enriches the soil, improving both drainage and fertility, essential elements for nurturing vibrant and resilient plants.
  • Check out the Upper Midwest Home and Garden Calendar for more tips on spring yard to-dos.

Apple scab, caused by the fungus Venturia inaequalis, is one of the most common and destructive diseases affecting apple trees in Minnesota.

Disease Prevention

Keep an eye out for signs of pests and diseases as the weather warms up. As spring breathes new life into our gardens, it's essential to take proactive steps in preventing common diseases like apple scab. This common fungal infection can mar the beauty of crabapple trees, causing unsightly blemishes on leaves and diminishing the overall health of the tree.

For more information on apple scab, visit the University of Minnesota Extension.


  • Clear away fallen leaves and debris from around the base of your trees to eliminate potential sources of infection.
  • Consider applying fungicides in early spring, before bud break, to prevent the onset of crabapple scab. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for application.
  • Regularly prune your crabapple trees to improve air circulation and remove any dead or diseased branches, reducing the risk of infection.

With these essential spring yard tips in mind, you'll be well-equipped to create a lush and vibrant oasis that you can enjoy all season long.

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