Early spring is the perfect point to get a head start on some basic gardening and landscaping projects. Even though it’s only early February, March and April are just around the corner and will be here before you know it.
That’s why we like to get started on our spring landscaping projects early. Of course you can’t do much when there’s snow on the ground, but Colorado Springs is known for some nice warm days in March. That’s when we get itchy to get outdoors and get going on our landscaping plans.
The following suggestions apply equally well to amateur enthusiasts and professionals; whether you garden for your own enjoyment or get paid for providing landscaping services, these are jobs you can hope to work on as soon as the weather starts to warm up.
You can do these things before the ground thaws.
Maintain & Repair Structural Elements
Structural bits of your yard and garden that need a little TLC will benefit from your attention early on, before they have to compete with more plant-centric gardening tasks.
Early spring is the perfect time to inspect and work on ornamental pieces like arbors, trellises, and lattices. While they’re bare of plant materials (vines and so forth), take a close look at their condition. This is the perfect time to give them a fresh coat of paint, fill holes, tighten up loose nails, and close any gaps.
Repair Stone or Rock Borders
Dry-stacked stone or rock is a lovely material for use in walls and planting borders. Freezing temperatures, snow, and ice can cause the stones to shift, resulting in a damaged retaining wall.
Towards the end of winter your stone borders may be looking much messier. Especially if we’ve received a lot of snow. Temperature shifting and moisture can even render walls and borders unstable and unsafe — an especially important concern if you’re soon going to have children playing in the yard.
Check all dry-stacked stonework to make sure the stones are neatly arranged and stable.
Get Rid Of Debris From Trees And Shrubs
Any mess that’s left over from the fall — or debris and deadwood that’s arrived during the winter — should be removed now. This includes vines and trellises, ornamental grasses (cut them back) and any other plant that looks unkempt and unsightly.
Prune Trees And Shrubs
Getting an early start on pruning gives you time to carefully consider the aesthetic effect your pruning will have. Try using twine to tie up branches so that you can inspect what your work will look like from multiple angles
Touch Up Your Mulch
Wind, snowmelt, and other weather action have likely carried away a fair amount of the mulch you put down in the fall. The soil around your plants needs to head into the warmer months with a solid two-inch covering of mulch to hold in enough water for fresh growth. Mulch can be beefed up with a range of different materials, including compost, wood chips, leaves, bark, pine needles, and more.
Fix Pest Damage
Check your structural elements (including, for example, birdhouses) for damage or dirt produced by wintertime pests. Confirm that structures are still firmly anchored to the ground. Inspect your whole garden for dirt and tunnels caused by burrowers (e.g. moles, rabbits and gophers).
If you find such diggings — in your garden or lawn — break up the dirt with a rake and level out the soil as best you can. For pest damage in lawns, you can re-seed as soon as you’ve leveled the soil.
Check Spring Bulbs
Wide temperature changes will typically make spring-blooming bulbs turn brown. This is normal. Early spring is a good time to check the location of your bulbs, though, so that you have a fresh picture in your mind and you can plant annuals and perennials in relation to the bulbs.
Clean up your faithful gardening tools and get them ready for another active season.
Soak tools in warm water if necessary to loosen caked-on dirt. Get any rust off of metal parts with steel wool or emery cloth. They should then be lightly sprayed with a light conditioning oil like WD-40.
Check wooden handles for rough spots and rotted parts and use sandpaper to smooth them down. If you haven’t already, find a dry, secure place to store your tools (should have done this in the Fall).
After the ground has thawed.
Check your garden soil to see if it’s ready for digging and aerating. Do not disturb your soil until it has dried out after the thaw.
Be especially careful of aerating over areas with an irrigation system. If the water supply lines are too close to the surface, the aerator could punch holes through them, creating another headache for you when it’s time to turn the sprinklers on.
Apply Fertilizer To Trees And Bushes
Heavy Spring snows and rains will do a great job of carrying fresh nutrients down to the plant’s roots. Be sure not to exceed the allpication amounds as you don’t want to have a bunch of fertilizer run-off if we have a wet Spring.
Your seeds will grow faster and stronger if you pre-germinate them. Soak seeds in a jar of water before planting. My father used to do this for his garden. I believe the germination rates were much higher after soaking.
Remember that these seeds will still need ample watering when you get them in the ground!
Harden Greenhouse Seedlings
If you bought or raised greenhouse seedlings over the winter, harden them off by slowly exposing them to outdoor temperature and light for increasing periods.
If you’re eager to get a head start on planting, check out vegetables that thrive in cooler weather. Examples include carrots, lettuce, spinach, and peas. On the flower side of the roster, annuals like poppies and bachelor’s buttons will do well with an early start.
Getting outdoors on a nice Spring day can do wonders for your health and mental attitude! Why not put that energy to good use with some Spring Landscaping projects?