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How are you doing with your spring yard work?

Rhodies Pruned Branches on Ground LadderThe weather’s been so cold here in the Seattle area that I haven’t gotten out in my yard for as much spring yard work as I would have liked.

My garden is growing well and so far I’ve enjoyed lettuce, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and one strawberry.

Here’s a list of spring yard work items if you, like me, aren’t as far along as you’d like to be:

Do clean up.

Rake up the leaves, branches, and other debris from the lawn and beds that have accumulated during the winter.

Pull weeds.

They’re only going to get bigger. Don’t use pesticides. Children and pets who live in homes where pesticides are used are more likely to develop cancer. If you don’t have time or have physical limitations, hire someone to help you. Teens often like to make extra money.

Apply organic mulch to control weeds in beds.

Avoid weed cloth if you can. Ants gather right under it.

Prune shrubs and trees.

Cut back branches that have been damaged during the winter and remove any dead or crossed branches. Prune azaleas and rhododendrons after flowering in the spring, and no later than July 4. If you prune later, you’ll have greatly reduced flowering the following spring. However, you can prune the “sprouts” on azaleas: gangly shoots that rise above the shrub. The shoots can be pruned back any time of the year; they usually don’t have flower buds. For pruning trees, see this guide from Cornell Cooperative Extension Rockland County.

Cut back perennials and divide them if needed. Cut back ornamental grasses.

You can cut a perennial back when you see new growth at the base of the plant. You can cut it back to about 12 inches above the ground.

Sweep walkways and other hard surfaces.

If you have moss that grows on your driveway like I do, pour vinegar on it to remove it or use a pressure washer.

Compost debris and clippings.

Fortunately, the city where I live now takes away yard waste for composting. It’s a big help.

Check your fence.

See if any damage has occurred over the winter that needs to be repaired. Also, check the surface of the fence to see if you need to stain or paint it this year.

Check your hoses.

See if you need new ones or if repairs are needed.

Wait to start watering your lawn until the weather gets warm and dry.

Lawns should be watered in the early morning to reduce the length of time the grass blades are wet to help reduce disease problems. Lawns need about 1 inch of water per week on clay soils and 1½ inch on sandy soil. Water deeply and infrequently, which stimulates a deep a root system.

Water and weed your garden.

Make a plan to be sure your garden is getting enough water as the days heat up.

Best wishes with your yard work. Again, get help if it’s too much for you.

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