Time to spring into action

submitted by Steve Castle, Castle’s Garden Center

It seems like winter never arrived, and spring is early. 

If you will have a lot of time on your hands in the next few weeks staying at home with the family, here are four things to do to pass your spare time, get the family involved, and enjoy the outdoors.

1. Roof and gutters. Take a look at your house from your neighbor’s perspective. Look at your house from all four sides. Be mindful of tree branches, leaves or other debris that might be laying on the shingles, blocking the gutters and down spouts. With spring rains on their way, take some time to trim and clean anything that is affecting the flow of water away from your house. Water damage repairs are costly. Whenever leaving the ground using a ladder, be sure to have a second person hold the ladder in a safe manner. Use extreme safety when using power tools to clean out gutters and down spouts. If in doubt, hire some one to help. Most local landscapers can do this for you at a reasonable cost.

2. Shrubs and trees in your yard. A perfect time to trim overgrown shrubs up against the house, or blocking the view of drivers if you are on a corner property. Keeping shrubs trimmed will stimulate new growth. Thinning out trees will help the tree and reduce the amount of leaves you must rake in the fall. Your landscaper can help you with this, or offer advice on how to trim your trees and shrubs.

3. Time to mulch. Now is a great time to spread some mulch after cleaning up the shrubs. Be sure to put down Preen or other type of weed preventer. The small cost of doing this while mulching will save you hours of pulling weeds all summer long. Wear gloves when mulching. Mulch comes in several colors. The dyes are usually a type of food coloring and not harmful to you or the environment. A good substitute is an all natural mulch with a color of brown. Some people will put down decorative stone, which will last several years before replenishment is required. Your local garden center should stock most types of mulch and stone. Your landscaper should also offer this service.

4. Time for the grass. Early spring is the time to put down a crabgrass preventer. The earlier the better, as weeds are already starting to grow under our noses. National brands usually sell a “four step” process, early spring, early summer, summer, and fall. You can buy one or all. A spreader is used to spread the product. Investing in a $150 spreader will last you 10 or more years. A cheap throw away will last a season or two. If you want to test your lawn for alkalinity, you can buy a test kit at most larger hardware stores or the box stores. Invest in a good lawn mower, or hire a local landscaper to cut your lawn. Lawns are generally cut every week for 26 weeks. If you want to hire a landscaper, find one who is from your local area, has a good reputation, maintains proper insurance, and returns phone calls. You can ask your neighbors who they recommend, or search Facebook for suggestions.

A good lawn takes years of hard work, and it will be evident to all who go by and admire your house. 

Enjoy the outdoors while the weather is great.