After a long and harsh winter, it's a privilege to get outside on the weekends and do a little bit of "spring cleaning" in your outdoor spaces. Taking care of the little things now will set you and your plants up for success, so you both can enjoy that sweet, sweet sunshine all summer long. Here are the basics to tackle as you work on your spring yard maintenance:
1. Clean your gutters
You know all that beautiful stuff that falls from the trees? Bright colorful leaves in the fall, and flowers in the spring? All that stuff also landed in your gutters. Get it out before the summer rains hit so you can direct water away from your home.
2. Clean and prep your AC
That magical box that makes spring and summer bearable? It needs a little love, too.
Turn off the power at the breaker, then open the unit by unscrewing the fan housing. Vacuum out the fins using a brush attachment, and then vacuum out any debris from the inside. Lightly hose off the fins and fan, then reassemble the unit. Inside, check that your drain tube is clear, and clean as needed. Replace the filter if needed.
3. Clean up your perennials and divide if necessary
Perennial plants are most productive when they have room to spread. Dividing them accomplishes two goals: your existing plantings will grow more lush and vibrant, and you'll give yourself new (free!) perennials to plant elsewhere on your property. Simply isolate part of the plant at the root level, then fill in the gaps with organic matter. Identify the healthiest sections of roots from those that you cleared out, and place them in their new home.
4. Amend your soil for veggies and flowers
With each season, your flowers and vegetables take nutrients from the soil, and it's important to put them back in for new growth . The easiest way is to take a soil sample to your local county extension center, and have them do an analysis and recommendation of what you might add. Common amendments include nitrogen, and varieties of compost and humus.
5. Prune your shrubs, bushes, and perennials
Pruning accomplishes several goals important to plant health and beauty. First, it removes dead or dying branches that can affect the health of the overall plant. But, perhaps more importantly, this part of your spring yard maintenance encourages the plant to serve its intended purpose in your landscape, such as foliage or fruit development. By removing suckers and other new growth, you empower the plant to put its energy into producing the growth you want: beautiful leaves and flowers, or tasty vegetables and fruits.
My favorite tool for pruning is a cordless reciprocating saw. I recommend the Milwaukee 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless HACKZALL. This is a smaller format tool that can be used one-handed, so its easy to operate while standing on a ladder or when you need to maneuver it deep into brush or branches to get the exact limb you're looking for.
Coupled with the right blade, it's the best way we've found to prune quickly, safely, and without hassle.
Looking for a good blade to pair with your reciprocating saw? We recommend the Milwaukee 12 in. Wrecker Demolition Cutting Reciprocating Saw Blade.
6. Spring is a Good Time to Fertilize and Overseed your lawn
As grass matures, it naturally thins itself. Overseeding is simply the process of adding new seed to an existing turf to fill in the gaps. This will thicken your lawn for the high-quality, bright green look. And this spring yard maintenance task couldn't be simpler.
7. Start seeds for veggies
Beginning you seeds indoors will mean that by the time the last threat of frost is through, you'll be ready to get those guys in the ground. If you haven't prepped ahead, that's okay. You can do your seed starting outdoors in the very same way: just keep them warm and moist, allowing as much sun as possible to get them to germinate. Free food all summer long.
8. Re-stain and seal wooden decks and outdoor furniture
After wet winters and springs, give your deck or wooden furniture some attention before the direct UV exposure of the summer sun. This will vary depending on what your working with, but the procedure typically goes: clear all debris, clean thoroughly with a power washer, scrub with a cleanser, then apply a new coat of exterior stain and waterproofing finish. Head to the paint and finish section of your local Home Depot to get recommendations for the best product for your needs.
9. Clean your windows and screens
Winter can wreck havoc on outside molding and trim such as window sills and sashes. Winter rain and snow wash dirt from your roof and upper exterior of your home down, landing on anything that protrudes...namely, your windows. For this spring yard maintenance task, a simple hosing off and scrub with soap and water followed by glass cleaner will do amazing things to brighten the inside of your home. Try it. You'll be amazed at the difference.
10. Prep your grill
Summer is king for outdoor cooking. Giving your grill a once-over means it'll be clean and ready to go all summer long.
Begin by removing the grates and spraying them with grate cleaner, allowing it to sit and work its magic. If you have a gas grill, detach the fuel tank and cover the heating elements with foil. Then, give the inside a good scrub with grill cleaner, using a brush or pad. Repeat until the grease and grime is gone, as well as any black carbon-y buildup, then address the grates. If any are rusted or brittle, replace them, and get cooking!
11. Get Your Lawn Mower Ready for Summer
A lawn mower that sits unused all winter may not start properly come springtime. Fortunately, some proper maintenance can ensure that it'll be ready to go when the grass starts coming in. Check the spark plugs for signs of rust and wear. Check and change the oil in the lawn mower engine. Replace the blade if needed (it's not hard!). For more on tuning up your lawn mower, check out this guide over on ManMadeDIY.
Now that you know what spring yard maintenance needs to be done, it's time to put on your work gloves, and head out into that sunshine. Happy spring!
How do you tackle your spring yard maintenance? Let us know in the comments!
I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the ProSpective2018Campaign. As a part of the Program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.
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