April Check List
Clean, Pristine Property
After the snow has melted, allow soil to dry for a few days so that raking will not tear up young grass. You are then able to clean leaves, branches, garbage and any other debris from lawn areas, corners and window wells missed in the fall. Collect garbage and broken branches off the property along with any remaining pet debris. Starting the season on a clean right foot will help keep your yard in order and plants fungus, disease and pests at bay.
Cut Back Catch-up
Any perennials that were left in the fall are now to be cut back. Leaving foliage at this point does little besides looking really bad and helping bugs and disease find places to live. If you are adamant about composting then I suggest putting the debris there to finish composting. Brown colored debris only adds carbon to the soil; all other nutrients have already been composted into the soil during the fall. If there is no risk of damaging new emerging foliage at this time, then cutting back or even just raking off the leftover debris will give way for heat from the sun and space for it to leaf out properly.
A Nip in Time Saves Nine
Early pruning is a great way to give some of your shrubs and trees a helping hand. Pruning before the leaves are out will enable you to see the structure so you can prune out the right branches and nip out broken, damaged and/or dead branches. This is a general rule but there are exceptions such as evergreens, maples and birches. Evergreens should be pruned in late spring while they are growing, maples and birch should only be pruned when they are in full leaf in July. All others can be pruned before the leaves bud out in spring. Be aware that spring flowering shrubs bare their buds on them at this point, so any pruning can result in fewer flowers.
If you are a rose lover, now is the time to ship them into shape. By removing any deadwood and debris from the base of the plant, you will decrease the chance of rot at the crown and allow air-flow through the plant which is crucial for controlling powdery mildew, black spot and a barrage of pests. Any live shoots at this time can be cut to the first strongest outside node. This will ensure open growth and strong structure which is where you want to start for perfect roses all season.
Read more about pruning in our Pruning 101 article.
Start Your Water Engines!
If you have an irrigation system, now is the time to turn it on and test it out so book an appointment with your irrigation company. Working out any kinks will be a lot easier now than later when getting an appointment may mean waiting far longer than you had expected. Best advice: Beat the rush. In the meantime you can make sure all your faucets are working, hoses are hooked up and any holes or washers fixed.
Sow, Sow, Sow Your Boat...
If you are planning to start all your annuals from seed this year, then it is time to get on that boat before it sails. Most annuals can be sown right in the soil as soon as it is workable; however, giving them a few weeks head start inside will get you that color you have been craving for all winter sooner! For squash, beans and cucumbers... it is imperative if you want early veggies. Planting more every two weeks will keep you and your family swimming in fresh veggies a lot longer into the season.
For all lawn care maintenance call Rockcliffe Landscaping for all landscaping services.