Your Personal Pot of Gold

by Aaron Graves

It’s March 18th, the day after St. Patrick’s Day. If you’re like me, you will be stashing all of your green, looking for discount deals for next year’s Emerald Extravaganza. Then you say to yourself, “Wait… is it getting warm again? Is that plant budding?,” and it hits you. Spring is here.

Even though it’s been the warmest winter on record, it’s always a little foggy at the end of it. Where do you start? How do you prioritize tasks? What are the steps to take so the outside of your dwelling looks more like that Better Homes and Gardens edition (Vol 15 Edition 6) and not the “Before” picture of a Scott’s fertilizer add?

Great question.

In the next many posts, Red Hawk Landscaping LLC will focus on services we provide throughout Springfield and the surrounding area to help your properties. We would love to have you as a customer, and we promise to watch over your property as only you would. However, just as important to us, is for everyone to understand the simple process of landscape maintenance, and maybe even enjoy it themselves.

So without further ado…

Step #1 – Spring Clean Up.

With leaves matting your turf and overflowing your gutters and landscape beds, there is no possible way to get a clean crisp look. Additionally, much of your lawn will not push through the dead of the Winter. This will eventually leave dead spots in your yard where a multitude of the Midwest’s finest weed specimens will soon move in. On top of that, with your gutters clogged, as the serious Spring rains roll in, the rain from your roof spills right over your gutters and down the foundation of your home.

Your best bet? Dig in and get out there with the mower, rake and blower. It is great exercise and just feels good when you have completed just sections of the task. If this seems a bit daunting, don’t be too hard on yourself. Maybe hit up the local paper for professionals (I like the Illinois Times), dig up those direct mailers or door hangers (you know you’ve seen a few), or Google it. All landscape and lawn care companies will be out working frantically at this point, but a good company will call you back within the day. If they do not… move on.

A good Spring clean up system can look a multitude of ways. However, it should involve some release of the leaves from the turf, some mulching of leaves, and collection of excess. Always work from the top down, inside out to reduce doing things twice.

Gutters are up top. Do them first. Often times, if the leaves are not wet, you can simply toss (or blow) them out and chop them up with the leaves from your landscape beds and lawn. If they are wet, an extension ladder and a five gallon bucket work very well. (WARNING -This is stinky work!)

Once that task is complete, focus on corners where leaves have accumulated: porches, patios, garages, and plant beds. You will need a blower to do this properly. Most times, you can push/pull the leaves out into the yard and chop them up with a mower, reducing the amount of room they take up by 75%. This being said, it is not advisable leaving the remainder on the turf. Dead leaves are very high in pH and have an acidic content. Your lawn has very neutral pH needs and this imbalance can throw your lawn off kilter.

Finally, or before mulching up the other leaves from the gutters and beds, ensure you have released the leaves from your lawn. Most often, they are plastered to the lawn in many areas from a previous rain or the last snow of the winter. You can tackle this one of three ways. One, you can use the traditional route and rake the entire surface of the lawn. This is a time intensive, but time-tested method. Two, you can rent a dethatcher, and run its tines gently across the lawn to release the material down beneath. This is a very thorough method, but often creates more excess material than most home owners want to deal with. The final method is to blow the leaves loose from the turf. After all leaves from the turf are loose, mulch them up and rake or bag them. And you’re done! Piece of cake!

* Next post – Fertilization