Minnesota is known for many things but our long, cold winters probably top that list. Still, seasonal changes can be pretty dramatic around here. One day, it’s 0˚ and the ground is piled with snow, the next day the snow has melted, the ground is thawing and the flowers are budding. This means that it’s never too early to start planning your lawn maintenance and garden projects for the year!
In Minnesota, the ground is usually ripe for planting roughly between April and September, leaving a six month window for homeowners to complete all of their lawn and garden projects for the year.
Lawn & Garden Maintenance in Spring & Summer
As soon as the ground thaws and the grass starts growing back, there’s lots of basic lawn maintenance which you’ll need to perform if you want your yard to look healthy until the ground freezes again in the fall. The first step is to address any bare patches where grass was completely killed off during the winter. You have two options for replacing the grass in these areas: planting seed or laying down sod. Either way, be sure to water it well so that it takes root and grows strong.
You’ll probably be tempted to water your whole lawn right away but hold off. All of the residual moisture left by melting snow, coupled with the early spring rains, will provide enough water to sustain your grass for quite a while. You shouldn’t begin watering your lawn twice per week until late spring or early summer, when the snow is long gone and rain alone might not be enough to sustain healthy grass.
Mowing is a basic form of lawn maintenance that you should start performing as soon as your grass begins growing. Three weeks after your grass has turned green, you can also start applying fertilizer to help your grass take root and grow dense. Be careful not to use fertilizer too early in spring, as you can end up stimulating the growth of weeds like crabgrass and dandelions. If these weeds do start popping up, pull them immediately before they take root and compete with your grass for nutrients.
Two less common forms of lawn maintenance that are good to perform during spring are aeration and dethatching. Aeration involves using a hand-pushed or motor-operated device to remove plugs of soil from your lawn, thereby breaking up compacted soil to ensure that water and nutrients reach all of your grass. Dethatching involves removing an excess build-up of “thatch”: a layer of dead grass that forms between your living grass and the soil beneath. While some thatch is good, too much can kill your lawn, so you can use a specialized rake to remove that extra thatch.
In addition to your lawn, there are many garden projects that need to be completed during spring and early summer. Your first step after the ground thaws should be to clean up your garden beds. Mulch, rock and pavers have likely been shifted during the winter and may need to be moved back into place. Dead fall annuals will need to be removed and composted, and it’s possible some perennials didn’t make it through the winter, too.
Spring is also a great time to prune many plants. Your first step should be to trim off branches that broke during the winter. Next, you can begin pruning flowering shrubs that bloom during the summer, and evergreens. When you prune deciduous shrubs, be sure to only cut back new wood growth. Pruning old wood that survived the winter may prevent your plants from blooming.
Before you begin planting new annuals for spring, you may want to test your soil to ensure that your new plants will be getting the nutrients they need. If your soil is lacking in key nutrients, it would be wise to purchase products from your local garden center to stimulate healthy growth. Be careful how soon you start planting for spring and summer, too. It would be a tragedy to fill your beds with beautiful flowers in early May, only to have a late freeze kill them all off.
Professional Garden & Lawn Maintenance Services
Handling all of your lawn maintenance and garden projects during the spring and summer can be very difficult. Maintaining a healthy lawn and beautiful gardens requires many long hours of effort. To make life easier on yourself, you may want to hire a professional landscape maintenance company to manage all aspects of your outdoor property including your lawn, gardens, ponds and pool.
For a reliable full-service outdoor maintenance company, look no further than Ground One. Our team can handle any and all landscaping projects and maintenance in your yard during the spring and summer. Give Ground One a call today for professional lawn and garden maintenance services in the greater Twin Cities area!