One of the most important things you can remember about your landscape is that it’s a living and breathing thing. Even the easiest-to-care for yard is going to need to be watered, fed and cleaned. If you aren’t that big of a fan of yard maintenance, then it may be worthwhile to implement landscaping that doesn’t require much attention.
The fact is, landscape maintenance is much more involved than most homeowners believe. Weeding, mulching and mowing are done, but rarely done right. In some cases, the difference between poor and solid landscape maintenance is in the fine details. Taking just a few extra minutes to ensure the job is done right will pay of significantly down the road with a more beautiful outdoor space and fewer maintenance issues.
So, what do you need to do to do the job right? Simple, you use the landscape maintenance checklist found here. The research has been done for you and all you need is this list. With the tips here, you can have a beautiful, healthy lawn throughout the year.
March is when the first inklings of spring weather are seen. Now is the time roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. By now, you are likely more than ready to get back in the yard and make things look great again. To get started in march, do the following:
- Remove mulch from early bulbs and perennials
- Fertilize gardens with a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10 or 16-16-16)
- Clean-up/divide perennials by cutting back dead foliage
- Prepare soil for spring planting
- Turn under cover crops/winter mulches
- Prune all leafy shrubs/trees that need pruning EXCEPT spring flowering plants, birches, maples, and walnuts
- Cut ornamental grasses back to within 3-5″ to the ground
- Begin planting trees and shrubs
By the time April rolls around, you are back into your lawn maintenance mode. You are ready to enjoy green, plush grass and colorful blooms throughout your yard. However, this isn’t the time to sit on your laurels, in April, plan on doing the following:
- Prune spring flowering shrubs such as forsythia and lilac (after done blooming)
- Plant new ground covers
- Fertilize roses
- Prune raspberry and blackberry plantings
- DO NOT remove the foliage from the spring flowering bulbs because the growth is necessary for next year’s flower
- Begin annual plantings
- Keep trees and shrubs watered
- Fertilize young trees to promote new growth
May brings plenty of sunshine and showers, which is just what your lawn needs. You can continue beautifying your space and begin protecting your lawn from insects, disease and other adverse consequences.
- Avoid watering lawn frequently to reduce weed germination and disease
- Feed spring flowering shrubs just after bloom
- Remove tree stakes that have been in place for more than one year
- Continue planting annuals, trees, and shrubs
- Begin pinching mums for bushier plants
By now, all your prep work is done. Your lawn should be in full “swing” blooming and looking great. However, with June comes heat, which can be damaging to some landscapes. Make sure you use the items here to keep your lawn healthy during the hot months ahead.
- Mulch crops for moisture conservation and weed control
- Water newly planted trees and shrubs as needed
- Check for insects/disease
- Check for bagworms and control as needed
- Water your turf sparingly in order to increase the drought tolerance in the summer
- Pinch herbs to encourage bushy/fresh new growth
- Deadhead spent flower blossoms to encourage more blooms
- Continue pinching mums
- Prune pines and spruces to shape and control size
- Clip hedges to maintain shape
Summertime is the perfect opportunity to sink your toes, sans shoes of course, into the plush bed of green in your yard. Lie on your back and gaze at the clouds in your beautifully landscaped space. If you want to ensure it continues looking great, make sure to engage in the following tasks, as well.
- Lightly fertilize annuals to promote growth
- Fertilize roses for fall blooms
- Prune shrubs after their new growth has hardened to keep a nice shape
- Do one last final pinching of mums for bushier plants
- WATER planted trees and shrubs installed within the last 5 years during dry weather (Water weekly by deeply soaking the soil. Avoid watering late at night.)
- TAKE PHOTOS!!!!
With the summer heat in full bloom, you don’t need to make any significant changes in your landscape right now. Keeping things stable is the goal.
- DO NOT fertilize trees now through October
- Divide perennials that have finished blooming
- Keep watering!!!
- Divide daylilies and iris during this dormant period
- Fertilize fall blooming perennials
- Prune and shape hedges
- Avoid fertilizing ornamentals now so they harden off before winter
As the temperatures begin to get cooler, you need to begin thinking about the winter months ahead. Taking action now will help reduce how much you have to do when cold weather arrives.
- Plant container grown or balled trees and shrubs early in the month
- Prune all broken and dead branches off of your trees and shrubs
- DO NOT prune your spring flowering shrubs
- Plant spring flowering bulbs
- Clean up garden areas to reduce insects and disease as plants go dormant for the winter
- Divide peonies or perennials
- Plant mums
- Plant trees and shrubs
Leaves are likely going to begin falling and you are going to begin finding more and more dead annuals in your beds. Don’t let these remain in place. Use the tips here to further prepare your landscape for colder weather.
- Add organic material to garden to improve soil structure
- Remove dead annuals from beds
- Keep fallen leaves removed from lawn
- Plant shrubs and trees and make sure to keep them watered well during dry months of winter
Winter is right around the corner. You need to make sure your landscape is ready. Using the tips here will ensure you and your lawn are ready to go.
- If the weather is dry, water fruit trees deeply to insulate roots
- Apply a winter mulch to perennials and roses after a few hard freezes
- Turn off water/irrigation and drain hoses
- This is the last month for installation for the winter
Through the winter months, there isn’t too much for you to do. However, keeping the landscape clean and maintained will ensure it is ready to go when the weather gets warm again.
- If very little moisture falls, water plants weekly/bi-weekly, especially new plants. (Only water when temperatures are above freezing and use hoses since your irrigation system should be drained for the winter.)
- Gently remove snow from limbs and shrubs to reduce damage
- Allow ice to melt naturally, do not use water to knock it off
Now you know what to do each month of the year to keep your landscape healthy. Take some time to print out and reference this checklist regularly to ensure you are doing exactly what you should.