What to do (and what not to do) in your yard in early spring

Early Yard Chores Can Do More Harm Than Good, Cautions Southview Design Landscape Experts

MARCH 15, 2016

With temperatures way above normal and tulips starting to push up through the soggy ground, Minnesotans are anxious to get out in their yards.

But Southview Design has a word of caution for anyone who cares about their landscaping. Wait.

It's way too early to do much of anything in your yard, says Isaac Loynachan, one of Southview Designs garden managers. Many tasks should wait until the threat of snow and cold has passed and temperatures are consistently warm around the end of April, he said.

Here's what not to do:

Do not mow or rake. You could damage your grass. Wait until the ground has thawed completely and is dry to rake your yard. And leave the mower in the shed until May.

Do not water. Even if your irrigation system has been turned on, wait until late May to water your lawn, unless we get abnormally high temperatures and dry conditions.

Finally, wait to plant annual flowers and container gardens until the threat of frost has passed usually around the middle of May.

However, Loynachan said if you're still compelled to work in your yard, there are a few things you can do.

First, you can clean outdoor furniture and get the grill ready for summer.

Second, you can cut back grasses and other perennials, opening the crowns to the sun's warmth and early spring rains. If it's brown, cut it down, he advised. It's also a good time to prune shrubs, but don't prune more than one-third of the growth.

Loynachan also said gardeners can get a jump-start by planting vegetables and perennials in containers indoors before planting them outside in May.

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

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