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Spring Cleaning for Your Yard

Once the snow is all melted and winter is finally behind us, you’ll likely find yourself walking around your backyard and picking up debris, fallen branches and pet waste. A little bit of TLC can go a long way in terms of preparing for a successful growing season.

It may be tempting to get outside and tackle yard work on the first warm day of the season, but it’s important to resist the urge to clean up the garden until temperatures are consistently above at least 10 degrees celsius. Butterflies and pollinating insects hibernate in the dead leaves and hollow stems of dead plants, so it’s important not to disturb them too early in the season.

If you didn’t get a chance to rake leaves in the fall, you’ve probably got a case of “snow mold” throughout your yard. Snow mold is more common in springs when the first snows of the previous winter were early and heavy enough to cover ground before it was fully frozen. As the snow continued to fall, the warm ground beneath the snow was actively supporting fungal growth, leading to snow mold in the following spring. If you happen to you find snow mould damage on your lawn, gently rake the affected areas to loosen the grass, as this will help the lawn dry and give new grass room to grow.

To prepare your gardens for a prosperous season, mix some compost to fertilize and soften up the soil. If possible, use compost rather than fertilizer, as fertilizer may burn new plants. Remove weeds and any dead plants you didn’t remove in the previous fall and plant bright spring annuals like snapdragons, pansies and petunias, or blooming perennials like bleeding hearts, black-eyed susans or irises. Prune any shrubs in your yard to remove dead limbs and allow new growth.

Once your yard and gardens are looking good, it’s time to tackle the exterior of your home and your patio area. Clean out your gutters and dispose of dead leaves and branches, and powerwash your siding and patio area to remove built-up grime that accumulated in the winter. Give your patio furniture a good scrub with soapy water to remove any cobwebs and dust.

It may seem like a lot of work, but the payoff of spring yard prep is worth its weight in gold and will leave you with more time spent enjoying your outdoor space all summer long.

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