I’m seeing signs of spring EVERYWHERE in Calgary! The snow is melting to promote plant growth, we’ve opened our annuals, perennials, and treelot departments, and the forecast is ABOVE ZERO! THIS IS NOT A DRILL! I’ve been looking at my yard a lot lately, and it’s got me thinking about getting out there and getting my hands dirty. So, what kinds of things can you do for your yard right now? What tools do you need? Why clean it up at all?
This week I sat down with assistant manager, Brian MacDonald, our go-to guy for advice on general gardening and lawn care. We talked about Spring Yard Clean-up in this weeks webinar, and boy, did I learn a lot!! I’m itching to get out there this weekend!
Brian is a true outdoorsmen. Not only has he devoted many years to the hardscaping, landscaping, and maintenance industries, but when he’s not at Golden Acre, he’s known to spend time on the golf course, fish at the lake, or just be in nature; garden included! His daughter, Marli, looooves being in the garden! It’s one of their favourite activities to do together.
Q: Why is it important?
“Spring clean-up is important for the health of your plants and soil. It makes room for new growth and removes rotting material which steals nutrition from the soil to break down.”
Q: When do I start?
“I like to do my spring clean when the soil starts to thaw. A good indication of that for me is when I see the first bit of green in my lawn. Cleaning debris can be done any time it’s possible.”
Q: What are the essential tasks that need to be done?
“You want to clean all leaves, sticks, garbage, dead plants and branches from in and around your trees, shrubs, garden, and lawn. You also want to clean out SOME of the thatch (layer of dead and living grass shoots, roots, and stems) in your lawn which is best don’t with a soil rake. This is also a good time to prune your trees and shrubs that need it (see our tree care seminar coming soon). Depending on the layout of your garden beds and lawn you may want to have a few different size rakes. For instance in tight areas its nice to have a shrub rake. Where for my lawn I like using a Big Load Leaf Rake. Around your perennial plants and trees using a cultivator allows you to loosen the soil without disturbing the roots. After finishing clean up it is a good time to add what you would like for amendments in your soil. This could be compost, rock dust, manure, peat moss or coconut coir.”
Q: What are my essential tools?
“The tools that will help you get the job done right are Leaf and Soil rakes for cleaning debris and loosening soil. Pruning snips to remove dead branches and plant material still attached. Shovel/trowel for digging up weeds and dead plants from the previous years. A Cultivator for working the soil around your trees and perennials and in open beds to prepare it for the season. Compost bin is where you would put all of your organic material from clean up.”
Q: Should I fertilize my lawn? My plants?
“Fertilizing should be done when you see new growth on your plant and believe winter is gone. It is best to wait until you believe we will not be getting any more bad frosts. So some years you will fertilize during spring cleanup and other years not.”
Q: Is it too early for lawn seed?
“It is not to early to do lawn seed. It is best practice to scratch the surface with a soil rake to loosen and top dress with good quality soil. As long as you can do those things you can apply grass seed.”
A BIG thanks to Brian for taking the time to talk about yard clean-up! As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out on our social media, and we’ll do our best to answer them for you! Links below!
Next week, we’re talking Lawn Care 101: How to Get the Perfect Grass!