Spring has officially begun, so it is time to get ready for the coming growing season. Here are a few tasks that you can take care of now as the weather begins to warm up.
- Rake-up and compost any leaves that may have blown into your lawn over the winter. Dried-up leaves will often blow in and collect in corners of your yard or under bushes during winter storms. Rake these up and put them in your compost bin. If the leaves are in your yard, use your mower to grind them up into smaller pieces. In most cases, the leaves will decompose very quickly. I often use the bag attachment on my mower to collect the ground-up leaves and spread them on my garden and mix them in to the soil as leaf litter is a great addition to your soil.
- Pick-up any sticks or branches that may have come down during winter storms. Although these branches will eventually decompose, trying to grind them up when mowing will not reduce them to small enough pieces. Plus, they will dull your mower blade.
- Cut back any dead plant growth on perennials left over from last fall. This is especially important if these plants experienced any disease problems the previous year. The spores of the disease often over-winter on the dead tissue. Also, adult insects often spend the winter hiding in leaf litter or will lay eggs within that growth as well. Removing this growth can reduce insect and disease grow this year.
- Tune-up your lawn mower and sharpen your blade – You can either take your mower to a qualified repair store or even do the work yourself if you have the right tools, experience and can access YouTube. It is amazing how many tasks and procedures you can learn how to do just by watching a video. Not to long ago I had to replace a drive belt for the self-propelled feature on my own lawn mower. I decided to turn to YouTube and I found a video that showed me step-by-step on how to do it myself, in the end it worked and even saved me money.
A lawn mower is not that difficult to tune-up. Replacing the spark plug, cleaning and/or replacing the air filter and changing the oil is usually all that needs to be done. (If there is something more complicated than that, you may want to opt for the mower repair shop.)
The same is true for sharpening your mower blade. If you have the right equipment, you can sharpen it yourself, but most home owners do not have the sharpener system that will leave the blade with an edge that is set at the right angle. The blade also needs to be balanced so it does not wobble when running at very high revolutions. It is also a good idea to clean the underside of the deck and remove all of the old caked-on grass clippings from the previous year. Remember, exercise proper safety and disconnect the spark plug wire before working on any gas-powered equipment.
None of these are too labor intensive. It always feels good to be back outside, working in your garden after being cooped-up indoors for several months. Your muscles may not feel that good about doing all the work, but your garden will benefit from your hard work.
Do you have any questions about your list of lawn and landscape chores this spring? Comment below or Contact your local Spring-Green for more information.