A landscaping checklist for February & March

The winter months may linger on in Chicagoland, but spring is just around the corner. While things are a bit slower in the dormant landscaping season, there’s still plenty to do! Whether you’re a homeowner looking to keep up with the Jones’ or you’re a property manager who wants to be on top of their landscape game, checking these items off the list can lead the way for a great summer season.

Analyze the property

As February rolls into March, it’s time to analyze your property with a keen eye. Begin by looking for snow mold or vole infestations. You may notice straw-colored circular patches scattered across your lawn. The grass often appears flattened and stiff. If the patches are caused by gray snow mold, they will exhibit a grayish-white hue. Pink snow mold will display a whitish-pink tint. Pink snow mold poses a greater threat as it can harm the crown and roots of grass, potentially leading to more severe damage. Gray snow mold typically affects only the grass blades.

A landscaping checklist for February & March Beverly Companies

It’s also important to consider the overall appeal of your home or building. It might look stunning in the summer, but the best property managers ensure everything shines just as bright in the winter months. If some color is missing, consider adding an evergreen tree or a winterberry shrub. These will ensure a vibrant color even in the winter.

If it feels dark and dreary, some landscape lighting might be in order. February is a great month to get a good deal on outdoor gear as stores look to clear last year’s inventory before the spring rush.

Speaking of good deals, February is also a great time to buy new seeds and bulbs for the upcoming season. You can even begin growing plants indoors to get a head start.

Test the soil

February or March can be excellent times to test the soil in preparation for spring planting. Testing the soil during these months allows ample time to receive the results and take corrective actions before the growing season begins. By assessing the soil’s pH levels, nutrient content, and composition, property managers and home owners can determine what amendments may be necessary to optimize soil health and support robust plant growth.

Conducting soil tests in late winter also enables gardeners to plan their planting schemes more effectively, ensuring that the soil is adequately prepared to provide the ideal conditions for the desired plants.

Get ahead of crabgrass

Around late March, consider using a pre-emergent herbicide to get rid of crabgrass. Dithiopyr, pendimethalin, and prodiamine, along with other similar products, are frequently used pre-emergent herbicides accessible to homeowners, effectively preventing the emergence of crabgrass.

You want to do this before the crabgrass seeds can germinate, but if you do it too early, it won’t help either. Apply the pre-emergent herbicide when soil temperatures reach roughly 55 degrees. If the window is missed, post-emergent herbicides like quinclorac and mesotrione can still be used, but apply this while the plants are still young.

A landscaping checklist for February & March Beverly Companies

Apply Mulch

Mulching in March offers a multitude of benefits for maintaining a healthy and vibrant landscape. Mulching helps with weed control, it keeps the soil from overheating, and it holds in moisture. Mulch acts as a natural insulator, regulating soil temperatures to provide an optimal environment for plant root development and microbial activity. It also adds organic matter to the soil as it breaks down, making it a great looking and beneficial addition to any landscape.

A landscaping checklist for February & March Beverly Companies

Clean, repair, replace

As spring approaches, it’s time to get your lawn equipment and garden tools in top shape. Start by cleaning each tool thoroughly, removing any dirt, rust, or debris that may have accumulated during the winter months. Check for any signs of damage or wear, such as broken handles or dull blades. Make necessary repairs promptly to ensure safe and efficient use. Sharpen blades and lubricate moving parts for optimal performance. Change the oil, air filter, and spark plug of your lawn mower.

For items beyond repair, consider replacing them to avoid setbacks during the busy landscaping season ahead. Even checking the irrigation is important during this time. Taking these proactive steps will help you maintain a well-kept garden and tackle outdoor tasks with ease when spring arrives.

Prune plants & remove trees

The late winter months offer a prime opportunity for dormant pruning. Dormant pruning encourages healthier growth in the spring by removing dead, diseased, or overgrown branches. Without leaves obscuring the tree’s structure, it’s easier to identify and address issues. Additionally, winter pruning reduces the risk of disease transmission and minimizes stress on the tree, as it’s less active during this time.

Winter is also an ideal season for tree removal. Removing hazardous or unwanted trees in winter ensures a smoother transition into the growing season, promoting safety and enhancing the aesthetic appeal of outdoor spaces. Most insects, pests, and fungus are dormant, mitigating the risk of spreading diseases. Flower beds and grass also won’t be as susceptible to damage because of the hardened soil. Lastly, without the leaves, cleanup and inspection will be easier as well.

Dethatch

The best time to dethatch a lawn is when it is actively growing and the soil is decently moist. The process involves removing the dense layer of thatch, a mat-like accumulation of organic debris such as dead grass, leaves, and roots that have not decomposed. When this layer becomes too thick, it can stop air, water, and nutrients from getting in, jeopardizing the long-term health of your grass.

For warm-season grasses like St. Augustine, Bermuda, and Bahia, late spring to early summer is typically ideal for dethatching. For cold-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, rough bluegrass, and fescue, early spring is the recommended time for dethatching, although it can also be done in the fall before the colder weather. Regardless of the grass type, spring generally stands out as one of the prime seasons for dethatching your lawn.

Plan & design

Utilize the quieter winter months to plan and design upcoming landscaping projects. This could involve sketching out new garden layouts, researching plant varieties, or consulting with landscaping professionals to develop comprehensive design plans tailored to your property’s unique needs and aesthetic preferences.

Proactive landscaping efforts now can set the stage for a vibrant and healthy outdoor space in the months to come. By following this comprehensive checklist, homeowners and property managers can navigate the transition from winter dormancy to spring growth with confidence.

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