Spring Cleanup: Grab a Rake, Get Out the Blower

Mild weather finds us itching to work in our yards – but start with a light touch, the experts advise.

With temperatures in Royal Oak climbing into the 60s and 70s these past several days, we’ve enjoyed a downright heat wave — plenty warm to start sprucing up your lawn and gardens.

“People are getting anxious,” said Deborah Lee, owner of Shades of Green in Rochester.  “We have delivered a load of mulch already —  a bit too early for me.”

Lee said lightly raking the lawn to remove debris and some dead grass is OK to do now.    

Added Doug Conley, director of landscaping at the in Grosse Pointe Shores and resident of St. Clair Shores: “While nice days are here and ‘things’ are popping, soil temperatures are still cool and it is too early to apply most fertilizers and pre-emergent herbicides on lawns.”

Do's and don’ts for pre-spring preparation 

From Deborah Lee of Shades of Green:

• Blow leaves out of beds.

• Pull any weeds that are popping up now.

• Apply granular fertilizer to emerging flower bulbs.

• Clean up any litter from yard/beds.

• Hose off walkways, driveways and patios.

• Do not work the soil yet.

• Do not prune. “ It’s too early —gut instinct is we are still going to get a cold blast.”

From Joe Kosiara, master gardener at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House:

• Check your lawn mower. “Pull the plug wire and clean under the deck,” Kosiara said. “If needed, remove and sharpen the blade, remove and replace spark plug, remove and clean air filter.”

• Check lawn mower settings. Vow to cut your lawn this spring at the highest setting to keep the crown of the grass cooler. This requires less water, discourages weed development and helps turf hold up better to traffic. 

• Clean your lawn. “Pick up all sticks and litter. Fluff up matted areas,” Kosiara said.

 • Go the recycle route. Make a promise to yourself that you will recycle your grass clippings by leaving them on the lawn. It’s easier than bagging and adds more nutrients to lawn.

Where to go in Royal Oak for your gardening needs:

Juli Seymour March 16, 2012 at 03:49 PM
I agree with the others, it's a bit too early to be raking, and certainly clearing out precious perennial beds. Thought the temps are going to be warm, lawns are very moist, they need time to dry up before de-thatching, edging etc. We are doing assessments and designing , beginning spring clean ups next weekend, cutting when the ground allows us to begin. But we do live in Michigan and it could snow anytime as we all know. Patience, and you will have a beautiful yard all summer long! (Apply crabgrass killer NOW) Juli and the Girls at Two Bags & A Mower!


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