Preparing for the Spring Growing Season

Preparing for the Spring Growing SeasonWith the winter behind us and spring fast-approaching, all of us here at Turf Shield are looking forward to getting back outside and enjoying the famous Atlanta greenery.  Unfortunately, the sudden, heavy rains and fluctuating temperatures that characterize the Georgia winters can be extremely hard on lawns and gardens, so it is often necessary to take steps, even before the spring growing season begins, to get your outdoor area back into shape.  Here are some steps that you can take in late winter and early spring to help ensure that your lawn or garden looks its best.

Rake Your Lawn

In most parts of the country, grass is dormant during the winter months, but is ready to spring back to life in the spring.  However, the weeds and dead plant matter that accumulate over the winter months can often get in the way.  Start off the spring season by getting rid of the weeds and raking your lawn thoroughly to remove the winter debris.  This allows light and air to reach the level of the soil, which encourages the grass to grow.

Revitalize the Soil

Your soil is likely to be dried out and compacted after a long winter.  Spring is an excellent time to add organic material, like compost or manure, to replace moisture and valuable nutrients and to aerate the soil to improve its consistency.  In particular, pay special attention to plant beds and areas where you want to encourage new growth.

Move Your Shrubs

Over the course of the year you may come to think that a particular hedge or bit of shrubbery would be more useful or attractive in a different spot.  Now is the time to make that move.  The early spring is more favorable to transplants because the soil is more consistently moist, which helps new rooting to expand from the transplant zone and reach out for more nutrients.

Re-Seed Bare Patches

Spring is also the time to re-seed areas of the lawn that have been worn bare by foot traffic.  First, rake the bare spots firmly with a metal rake and then sprinkle them evenly with new grass seed.  Don’t forget to keep the areas well-watered until the seeds germinate and the new grass is firmly established.

Prune Your Foliage

Larger plants that have survived the winter, like trees and shrubs, may require pruning so that they will continue to grow in the coming months.  Ornamental blooming plants should be pruned right after they bloom to avoid cutting off future flowers, while fruit trees should be pruned well before their buds begin to bloom to avoid overstressing the tree and reducing the crop.

Plant New Flowers

Once you’ve handled all of the old plants, it’s time to turn your attention to new ones.  Spring is an ideal time to plant daffodils, lilies, crocus, hyacinth and any other bulbs as well as new vegetables like kale, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.  Remember that new bulbs often need to be protected from sudden, unexpected frost and disease with a one to three inch layer of mulch as well.

Putting in a little bit of effort to prepare your lawn or garden for the coming spring can provide big payoffs down the line.  Our lawn care specialists can work with you to determine exactly what measures you should take to keep your yard looking its best.  If you have any questions about any of your landscaping needs, or about any of the customized lawn care treatment packages that we provide, please contact Turf Shield to get more information.  Don’t forget to follow Turf Shield on Facebook  or Twitter to get all the latest updates and lawn care tips.

Protecting Your Yard from the Winter Cold

Protecting Your Yard from the Winter ColdCompared to other places around the country, we don’t have to deal with particularly harsh winters down here in the south.  Nevertheless, more than a few times over the past several years, sudden and severe drops in temperature have caught our Georgia lawn care service customers by surprise, causing significant damage to grass, trees, and shrubs.  Although most plants do protect themselves by going dormant during the darker winter months, there are also a few simple things that you can do to make sure they stay as healthy as possible and emerge from the cold weather looking their best.

Wrap Up Your Trees

Winter temperatures in the south can vary a great deal, going from relatively warm one day to freezing the next.  As difficult as this can be for humans, it can be potentially devastating to trees and plants.  Cold temperatures cause growing wood to go dormant in order to protect itself, but significant sun exposure can prematurely end that dormancy, exposing the tree to severe damage when temperatures fall once more.  Caring for your trees should include wrapping the bark in cling wrap or burlap fabric to better regulate their temperature during the winter months.

Rake Your Leaves

It might seem like wasted effort to rake up fallen leaves when your grass has already turned brown, but it is actually much more important than most people may realize.  Leaf cover during the winter keeps sunlight off your lawn, which, in combination with the colder temperatures, encourages moss and lichens to grow.  Fallen leaves can also trap heat and moisture underneath snow, leading to a fungal lawn disease known as “Snow Mold.”  Keeping your yard leaf-free, even if your lawn has turned brown and dormant, will keep it drier and healthier.

Avoid Excessive Foot Traffic

If you want to see a fresh, green, healthy-looking lawn in the spring, don’t allow anyone to walk on the grass when it is covered with heavy frost or ice.  Even if the grass is brown and short, walking on frozen blades will cause them to crack and shatter.  Keep your sidewalks cleared of ice and snow so that you and your guests won’t be tempted to cut across the yard and never allow anyone to park a truck or a car on your lawn.  Even the smallest vehicle will leave impressions in the soil and kill off the grass that is underneath the tires.

Just because your yard hibernates during the winter doesn’t mean that your lawn care regimen can take a vacation.  If you have any questions about any of your landscaping needs, or about any of the customized lawn care treatment packages that we provide, please contact Turf Shield to get more information.  Don’t forget to follow Turf Shield on Facebook  or Twitter to get all the latest updates and lawn care tips.