Save yourself time and headaches this season with advice from Paul Simon, a landscape architect and horticulturist with the National Gardening Association.
• Make sure your tools and garden equipment are in good condition. Check your mower blades (always remove the spark plugs) for sharpness and change the oil. Start it up early, so you aren’t stuck in line at the repair shop this spring.
• Check the height on your mower. Cutting too low can burn the grass, and increase the pressure for weeds and pests. “Grass in peoples’ yard is a plant,” Simon says. “It needs enough leaf growth to sustain itself, and sustain itself well.”
• Test your soil. You can get free or cheap tests from local extension offices or universities. Knowing the pH of your dirt lets you know which plants will thrive (or not) in your beds.
• Inspect your plants for insect and weather damage. Before your trees and shrubs leaf out, take a look at their branching structure so you know where to prune.
• When it comes to water, remember that new plantings need more to drink than established ones. And make sure you’re spraying just the plants and not, say, the driveway.
• Look at the timing on the system, too. Typically the south side of your house gets more sun and needs more time compared to north or east sides, which have more shade.
• Remember your landscape is local. “I’d advise people when they’re visiting their garden centers and nurseries to talk to the experts there. Ask the questions they need to ask,” he says. “Every region’s different.”
• Advice from Weed Man. For turf-specific questions, ask your local Weed Man expert for advice on all your lawn care needs.