Think Spring and Be a Gardening Optimist

Make your summer landscape plans and plantings a success with a gameplan that begins in the Spring.

By Gene And Katie Hamilton

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A gardening optimist thinks about Springtime no matter what the weather is outside. To get yourself in the mood order a gardening magazine and some catalogs and warm up to the idea that you'll be digging in the soil in the not too distant future. With that in mind consider these ideas to make the most of your lawn and garden with a list of tasks from Lowe’s Live Nursery Specialist Lester Poole and jumpstart your gardening plans.

1. START PLANNING: Think about the goal for your outdoor space. Is it entertaining, playing with the kids, gardening, or simply relaxing? Once you’ve got that down, draw a map of your property from a bird’s eye view on graph paper. Include your house, existing boundaries such as fences, outdoor utilities such as AC units and heat pumps, existing drains or irrigation systems, and any views you wish to preserve or hide. From there, use tracing paper (and your imagination) to draw your ideas, from a new garden to a gazebo or walkway.

2. GET EQUIPPED: Your tools might not be in tip-top shape after a season in the shed. Check your lawnmower blades, rakes, edgers, trimmers and pruners, and consider replacing them if they’re worn, bent or rusted.

3. DETHATCH YOUR YARD: It’s not uncommon that a layer of living and dead plant matter, known as thatch, has taken over your lawn after a long, cold winter. If the thatch on your yard is half an inch or thicker, it’s important to get out the dethatcher so air, water and nutrients can break though and help your grass grow.

4. FERTILIZE YOUR YARD: The later into the season you wait to fertilize, the less time your lawn has to mature and adapt to the upcoming season’s harsh conditions. Sow seed evenly, then rake it thoroughly to increase your chances of quality germination. You can also aerate your lawn after sowing, which further enhances seed contact with the soil. Springtime is the perfect time to begin fertilizing your shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer.

5. START PLANTING: Any vegetables or flowering plants can be planted indoors now to later be transplanted outside. If you’re eager to start digging outside, seedlings such as petunias, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage and winter peas are frost-resistant.

6. PREPARE FOR THE UNEXPECTED: You can’t predict the weather, but you can keep a watch on your area’s forecast and have protective materials at the ready. Stock up with a few frost blankets to place over tender, newly budding plants in case of a late frost, which help ensure the upcoming season’s success.

7. NIP PESTS IN THE BUD: With spring regrowth comes the pesky emergence of bugs and rodents. To get ahead on pest control, start by checking your home’s wood structures, foundation, and surrounding areas for damage, holes or cracks and standing pools of water in which pests thrive. If you see eggs, insects or other signs of infestation, consult your local Lowe’s gardening expert to determine the best course of action before purchasing pesticides.

The experts at Gardener's Path have more advice Preparing the Garden for Spring: Good Times are Coming!.

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