The air is getting warmer, and you want to get outside! Your lawn and shrubs are still a bit brown, but you’re ready for some spring landscaping. What do you do?
Early spring is a pivotal time to set your lawn up for success, and a simple plan will help you make the most of this valuable time. Plus, let’s face it, now is the best time of year for a bit of spring landscaping before the heat comes back in earnest!
Check out our Austin landscaping calendar and read on for our top 7 steps towards a beautiful central Texas lawn.
#1 Spring Cleanup
Sometimes the best solution is the most obvious. Cleaning up your leaves and debris doesn’t just look good; it helps your plants stay healthy too! It’s OK to leave your leaves alone through the winter (in fact, it can provide extra insulation), but come spring, you don’t want your new growth to get smothered by debris.
PRO TIP: Once the weather gets warmer, old leaves also offer an excellent hideout for snakes (and who wants that?!)
Out with the old and in with the new! Now that your beds are clear check on the quality of your mulch. If it’s a little worn and discolored but still thick, you may just need to turn it — mix it up. If it’s getting too thin, it might be time to add some more mulch. Generally, you want at least 3 inches.
PRO TIP: Keep in mind that black-dyed mulch turns white eventually. We like to use native hardwood mulch for long-lasting, natural color.
#3. Pruning & Cutback
Spring is prime time for pruning cedars, crape myrtles, and other trees and shrubs. Trim them away from your house and roof (give it 3-5 feet) and shape up any excessive growth. Pruning now will also open up your canopies to provide more sun to growing grass and plants — perfect timing!
You also want to cut back roses, perennials, decorative grasses, and other shrubs now before they start to green up. Each plant is a little different, but we generally want to cut back 6-12 inches of dry brown twigs and branches to make room for new growth. Stop if/when you start to see some green in the stem.
PRO TIP: Keep in mind, it is NOT oak pruning season. The City of Austin actually prohibits oak trimming from February-June to help prevent oak wilt.
Is your lawn hard as a rock? Grass looking spotty? The dry Texas climate can really do a number on the soil. Compacted dirt is bad for grass, especially St. Augustine and Bermuda grasses which grow by spreading their roots and runners. Core aeration will loosen everything up AND allow much-needed nutrients to penetrate the soil to feed your lawn’s roots.
#5. Top Dressing
We spread a thin layer of organic soil mix to “top dress” our lawns with extra nutrients in the spring. Not too thick — no more than ¼ inch. Any clumps will soon settle into the yard with a bit of rain and irrigation. If you just aerated, it will even make its way down into those pockets you just opened up!
In February-March, we start applying a revitalizer and weed barrier — step two of our annual fertilization program. This promotes helpful microorganisms, nutrients, and pre-emergent weed control to stop many weeds before they even sprout. We’re back in March-April for another round with a combination of both quick and slow-release fertilizers to really kick that grass into gear!
You can plant hearty grasses and shrubs pretty much any time, but once the danger of frost has passed, you can move on to more tender plants like flowers. Warm weather is also a must for annuals, tropical plants, and anything else you replace each year.
PRO TIP: Visit our planting page for more info on where and what to plant!
Let’s get to work!
As soon as your lawn and beds start coming back, you’ll begin to see the results of your hard work. A little proactive spring landscaping goes a long way to beautiful green, healthy, sustainable growth!
Questions about what do to do when? Need some help checking these tasks off your to-do list? Give us a call or shoot us a message for a quick free estimate. Let’s get your lawn prepped for spring!