Spring Has Sprung: 6 Areas of Your Yard That Need Maintenance After Winter
March 27, 2020 | Kirk Callender
Spring is finally here. As we begin to spend more time outdoors after the long winter, our attention turns to the most visible part of our lives: the yard. It needs attention during spring, to help it recover from winter’s snow, cold and freezing temperatures. You should also spend time preparing the tools you use in the yard for the summer season.
Tending Your Lawn After Winter
Start by removing all of the accumulated debris from your lawn. Use a rake to remove any leaves that blew onto it after your fall clean-up. Pick up any trash that the winter winds blew in, along with any twigs or sticks that magically showed up during winter. This is important because twigs and sticks can catch in the blades of your lawn mower and cause injury to it or to you.
It’s tempting to turn on your sprinkler system, to help your grass green up. The Sprinkler Guy advises that you don’t turn your sprinklers on until April 15th or problems could arise due to potential changes to the weather and temperature. Also ensure that all of the sprinkler heads are cleared of debris before summer’s hot weather arrives. If you clean off your lawn, it will expose the sprinkler heads and spring rains will help clean them off. You simply need to recheck them to make sure that nothing is blocking their flow.
As soon as the soil is dry enough to walk on it without sinking into it and leaving obvious footprints, it’s time to tend to your garden. Economical Insurance recommends that you remove any dead or dry foliage left over from last year. If you have a mulch of wood chips, bark, or stones, the easiest way to clean up your garden beds is by using a blower. Prune or trim off any parts of plants or shrubs that suffered winter die-back. It’s easy to spot this, just look for branches that have no buds or whose buds are not swelling like on the rest of the plant. These branches will also be a slightly different color than the healthy branches.
According to House Tipster, you should start early to get your pool ready for summer’s heat. Remove the cover and skim off any leaves, twigs or other debris. Then remove the pool’s filter, rinse it under running water to remove anything that might clog it, and put it back. Next, add water to raise the level to the pool’s capacity. Add chemicals, following the chemical manufacturer’s directions for the size of your pool. If the water looks green or smells bad, don’t worry, the chemicals will take care of it. Finally, turn on the pump and filter and let them run continuously for twenty-four hours.
After twenty-four hours, test the level of chlorine, pH, calcium, and alkaline. Ensure that all of these levels are within the range recommended by your pool manufacturer. Monitor the water color and periodically check the filter. Clean out any debris the filter catches. You should do this over a period of one to two weeks until your water looks crystal clear and the chemical levels are balanced and stable.
Once the water is clean and chemical levels correct, scrub the sides, vacuum the bottom and skim off anything that is floating. Install your pool accessories, like ladders and diving boards. Now you and your family can safely enjoy the pool.
Since your lawn mower has been sitting for months in the garage, spring is the best time to clean it and get it ready for summer. First wipe the dust and dirt off the surface of the handles, seat and engine case. Then turn it over and remove any grass clippings stuck to the chassis and cutting blade.
Start the engine and warm it up for two to three minutes. Then remove the spark plug and drain the oil. Be sure to dispose of the oil properly. Add fresh oil, following the instructions of the manufacturer of the lawn mower. Replace the spark plug and start it up. Let it run for a minute to distribute the oil.
Clean and Sharpen Lawn and Garden Tools
Spring is the time to ensure your garden tools are clean, rust-free and sharp, according to the University of Vermont Extension Department of Plant and Soil Science. Although you can do it in the fall, most of us end up doing it in spring. Use a stiff brush to remove any dried soil on the blades of cutting tools, shovels or hand tools. If any are rusty, soak the affected part in a mixture of strong black tea for a couple of hours. Wipe the rust off with wax paper. Dry thoroughly.
Sharpen cutting blades and the edges of shovels using a bastard-file. Hold the file at a 15-degree angle and make strokes in one direction towards the cutting edge, then do the other side. Apply a light coating of used motor oil or mineral oil to the metal blades and cutting surfaces. Use a soft rag or a piece of paper towel dipped in the oil. Wipe over the metal surface only. This will help keep rust from forming.
Clean Deck, Walkways and Stairs
Use your hose to clean off your deck, walkways and stairs. If it is time to reseal your deck, use a deck cleaner and spray it on with a garden hose-end sprayer, following manufacturer’s directions. It’s best to use water only to clean off your walkways and stairs, as the cleaning solution can kill grass and plants that grow alongside these areas.
If you spend a little time in spring taking care of your yard, you and your family can enjoy summer straight away. Besides, the weather is much better in spring for doing chores. Summer weather is for fun and sun.
Here are some more great tips for homeowners: What to Know Before Getting a Backyard Pool