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5 Ways to "Spruce" Up Your Landscape This Spring!

There's nothing more refreshing than spending some time outdoors and soaking in some sunshine after a long Iowa winter. After several months of being cooped up, I'm always excited to get outdoors and do something productive. It's always a fun indicator of spring to walk around the yard and take note of perennials emerging from the dirt, buds popping on trees, and birds chirp-chirping as they search for earthworms. Here's a list of 6 ways to "spruce" up your landscape this spring to get it looking it's best. Now, get out your pruners, shovel, and wide-brimmed hat, and let's get to work!

1. Bust out your gloves and rake! It's time to remove any debris that fell during the winter, or that you may have missed during your fall cleanup. Be sure to get rid of sticks, branches, and any deposits of wet, soggy leaves, which could create breeding grounds for pathogens and inhibit turf growth. Remove dead growth from herbaceous perennials like Salvia, Coneflower, and Daylilies.

*Spring cleanup is always done best with a friend... if you can recruit an entourage, even better.

2. Dust off your trusty pruners, it's time to give your lovin' landscape plants a haircut! Late winter/early spring (think: before most plants even emerge from dormancy) is the best time to prune many of your plant children for best results:

▪️ Shrubs that bloom in the summer (think Spirea, Hydrangea, etc.) ▪️ Shrubs that don't bloom (Boxwoods, etc.) ▪️ Deciduous trees (With the exception of Oaks)

▪️ Ornamental Grasses (Hedge shears work great for these!) ▪️ Evergreen shrubs (Yews, Junipers) ▪️ Fruit trees (do before budbreak, !)

Make sure you skip anything that blooms in the early spring, as pruning at this time will keep these from blooming at all, and without that enchanting scent of spring Lilacs, spring just wouldn't be the same.

*Please do not try this at home!

3. Turf health matters! Healthy lawns are safer with less risk of injury, they help control erosion, they resist disease and pests, they reduce runoff to rivers and streams, they conserve and improve soil, they provide oxygen, and they absorb pollutants from the air. Did I mention that healthy lawns improve curb appeal by a LOT? Achieve your best lawn ever by following these tips.

- Spring is an excellent time to over-seed any bare spots in the lawn. You can do this by breaking up bare spots using a sturdy rake and applying a high-quality seed mixture that you will then keep wet by watering once a day until the seed has germinated.

- Apply a pre-emergent crabgrass preventer to your lawn. If you've done any overseeding, be sure to avoid these areas, as pre-emergent will prevent the seed from germinating.

- Apply a quality granular fertilizer. This will ensure that your lawn emerges thick, green, and healthy as soon as the ground reaches the correct temperature for grass to grow!

- Sharpen your mower blades and set your mowing height to 3-3.5" - no shorter! I'm serious!

*Things will go by twice as fast if you can talk the family pet into helping out. It's about time they start paying their dues, anyways.

4. Make your bed! Some might argue that the best way to start the day is by making your bed. I would like to add that the best way to start your spring, is by "making" your landscape "beds." One of my favorite ways to add curb appeal is by creating a defined bed in front of your home. This can be done by edging your beds using an edger or spade, by applying fresh mulch to your beds to create crisp lines, or by installing concrete or stone edgers. Make sure to put some thought into your lines - will the be straight or curvilinear? Where will they start and end, and will it make mowing easier or more difficult? (These are all questions that can be answered by a landscape design professional like myself. Send me an email here .)

*Want to spend your spring looking like this guy? The key is a freshly made landscape bed.

5. Does future you want to LOVE present you? Then plant yourself some colorful landscape plants that'll surprise you with blooms and fill you with joy throughout the upcoming season. You can do this by dividing perennials you already have (or those from a friend!), or by purchasing them from your local nursery or garden center (such as the one at North Central Turf & Landscaping!) We can help you choose plants that'll work best for your home, and we can give you advice on how to keep them alive. Please stay away from ordering plants online - you never know what you're going to get, how it was grown, or if it will survive in our climate. Just trust me on this!

*There's something seriously joyful about planting something and watching it grow and bloom year after year!

Now, that you've got the tips and tricks, get out there and spruce up that landscape, you landscaper pro! As always, email me with questions, or contact our office at 515-832-1107. We've been in business for over 33 years, and we're here to help with all of your lawn and landscaping needs!

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