There are days when it feels like winter will never end. By late winter, many of us are waiting anxiously for the first sign of spring. Shouldn’t it be any day now? When the snow finally does melt, avid gardeners and home landscapers will be hurrying outside to begin working in the yard. What are the first things you should do for your landscape as soon as the snow melts?

lawn chores after snow meltFertilize Ornamental Plants and Lawn

Early spring is a good time to lightly fertilize your ornamental landscape plants, giving them an extra boost as growing season begins. For trees and shrubs, apply fertilizer out toward the dripline, not at the base of the trunk. Loosely spread fertilizer or punch several holes 6 – 12 inches deep to get fertilizer close to the root zone. With either method, be sure to water thoroughly or fertilize just before it rains.

A light fertilizer application also gives your lawn an early spring start. Some lawn experts suggest a low nitrogen fertilizer is best at this time of year. While nitrogen is good for stimulating green growth, you don’t want that to happen at the expense of root growth. Healthy roots will get your lawn ready for summer weather. Your local garden supply company can help you choose the best fertilizer for your lawn, trees and shrubs.

lawn preparation for springDethatch and Aerate Your Lawn

Your lawn may need more than fertilizer to get it ready for spring and summer. If you did not dethatch and aerate your lawn in the fall, you can do these tasks as part of early spring lawn care. They are a great way to revive a lawn. For small lawns, a dethatching rake will do the trick. If you have a large lawn, rent a mechanical dethacher and aerator. Be sure to rake off the debris the dethacher produces. The aerator will pull small plugs of soil and turf out of your lawn, which is especially good for compacted soils.

garden prep after winterSpring Ornamental Planting

Early spring is not too late for planting that ornamental landscape project you never got around to last fall. In fact, there are some tree and shrub species that prefer spring planting. Summer flowering bulbs and perennials should perform well this year if you get them in the ground early.

While spring lawn care and early spring fertilizing will be good for the health of your landscape, a spring planting project may the best thing for your own mental health! Thinking about and planning for summer flowers helps get you through the last cold days of winter.