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Tips for a Successful Spring Cleanup

Spring is a time for rebirth, after a time of rest in winter. After a cold and snowy or a warm and mild winter, it’s important to repair all the damage that was made to our lawns and outdoor spaces and prepare them for this year. Here are nine tips for a successful spring cleanup. 

Remove Debris and Cleanup Leaves

To start, you should make sure your yard is not filled with debris like small branches, twigs, and rocks. Once this waste has been removed, you can clean up and remove the leaves from lawn, garden, and hardscape areas. Use care when raking to not damage tender emerging plant material hidden beneath the leaves. Also, make sure to gently rake leaves from lawn areas, as hard raking will disturb the soil and bring crabgrass seeds to the surface which will create significant weed problems in the summer. 

Cutback Dead Plant Material

Cut back dead garden plant material before new growth emerges. Make sure to only remove dead material and not dormant living material. Different plants are cut back to different heights so be sure to determine the correct cutting height so as to not cause damage. Prune dead limbs from trees and shrubs for a clean healthy look and to remove a potential way that disease can enter the plant.

Startup Irrigation

Freezing temperatures, animals, and snow plowing regularly damage irrigation. Turn on irrigation and run through all zones to make sure that everything is working and that buried lines do not leak. Repair any damage. Set irrigation schedules. Generally, the goal is to support plants, but not to make them overly dependent upon irrigation. This is best done by setting up a longer watering time on a less frequent schedule. 


Applying mulch to garden areas looks great and significantly reduces weeding. Choose the type of mulch that you like. Mulch generally comes in colors like dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and burgundy. Apply a thin 1-2” layer over garden areas. Be careful to leave a small space between the mulch and woody plant trunks, as the above-ground parts of woody plants are not designed to be buried and can be damaged by doing so.

Lawn Care

Spring lawn care is very important as it sets the lawn up for either success or failure later in the year. First, fill in bare areas by focused seeding to prevent crabgrass later in the season.

Then, apply an organic fertilizer and non-toxic crabgrass pre-emergent such as Corn Gluten Meal to help the grass grow and prevent the germination of crabgrass. If you are concerned about broadleaf weeds like dandelion or clover, dig and remove them by hand, or apply a safe and low-tox selective herbicide to control these nongrass plants in lawn areas.

Lawn Mowing

The grass on your lawn likely looks unkempt and will need a trim. Mow one time at a 2” height once it has reached this length to remove any remaining debris and get a fresh look, and then raise the mowing height 3” or more for the rest of the season to allow grass to be lush and healthy. At Annisquam Landcare, we offer regular mowing and lawn care services so you don’t have to worry about lawn maintenance.

Fertilize Plants

Fertilization will help the perennials, shrubs, and trees get the nutrients they need for healthy growth. Trees and shrubs benefit from a spring application of fertilizer with soil probiotics (beneficial soil microorganisms, think yogurt or kombucha for plants). 

Our team at Annisquam Landcare only uses natural fertilizers for plant and grass growth.

Remove Weeds

It is important to remove undesirable vegetation from garden areas so that they do not detract from the health and aesthetics of the plants that you want, and before they become established and more difficult to remove. Garden weeds close to desirable garden plants should be removed by hand, while weeds in open garden areas can be controlled with an herbicide. Make sure that any herbicide is safe and effective, as many lawn and garden herbicides are linked to serious human, animal, and environmental health risks! 

The best way to remove weeds by hand is by waiting until heavy rain. Grab some gloves, a sitting pad, a tarp, and a table fork, and attack the roots of the weed by digging. Don’t try to pull or tug; this won’t help you get all of the weeds separated from your plant. 

Spruce Up Hardscape Areas

Wash deck, patio, and walkway surfaces and furniture to remove unsightly and slippery dirt and grime. Repair any damage such as loose or failing boards on decks, settled pavers on patios or walkways, and falling mortar between stones on walls or flat surfaces to make sure your hardscape areas are safe and attractive for lots of great outdoor living this year. 

Following these steps, your landscape is ready for you to enjoy! There are also many other ways further to enhance your landscape and outdoor living, such as adding hardscape or garden areas or applying natural tick and mosquito control.  Contact Annisquam Landcare to help you maintain and better your landscape today!


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