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Spring Cleanup in 5 Steps

Spring Cleanup can sound daunting, but with a little planning and elbow grease, it’s really not that bad. If you are a DIY type and don’t mind spending a Saturday working outside, here are some steps to help you plan your cleanup.

1. Get your tools
Tools needed for spring cleanup are usually pretty basic. A basic list includes:
    – Leaf rake
    – Small garden rake
    – Compostable bags
    – Trimming and pruning shears
    – Hand tiller
    – Gloves, safety glasses

2. Rake, rake, rake
As the title would indicate, spring cleanup involves lots of raking. Rake up leaves, sticks, trash and debris and remove them from your property. Use the small garden rake to get into hard-to-reach areas around plants and shrubs. This is a good time to address a common West Michigan lawn problem, “snow mold.” I’ve posted a video on dealing with snow mold on our Facebook page if you would like more information.

3. Trim and prune
Depending on the type of plants you have, it’s a good idea to cut away any dead branches or growth from your existing plants. Removing this dead stuff gives your thriving plants room to breath and grow, and maximizes the nutrients in the soil.

4. Loosen soil in flower beds
The snow can compact the soil in your flower beds. First, pull any visible weeds and unwanted vegetation and then, using a small shovel or hand tiller, gently loosen the soil to give your plants room to breathe.

5. Install mulch
I prefer mulch to rocks or other types of filler. In my experience, it is easier to work with and does a better job helping keep weeds away. Weed the flower beds and apply pre-emergent weed control. Be careful to buy the type that won’t harm your plants.
I think it is best to install the mulch in direct contact with the soil and avoid any mesh weed barriers. If approximately 3″ of mulch is installed, that should be sufficient to prevent the growth of weeds. You will need to add 1-2″ of mulch annually as the existing mulch will decay into the soil over time. This is totally normal and is actually good for the soil. With weed barriers installed, the mulch decays right on top of the weed barrier creating a perfect place for weeds to grow – defeating the purpose!