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Spring Landscape Do’s and Don’ts

April 19, 2021
Written by Aaron

Spring has indeed sprung here in Ontario, and it’s looking beautiful. After a long winter, it can seem like there’s a lot of work to do in your yard and garden. It’s easy to get carried away with spring cleanup. While there’s plenty to do, there are also some don’ts—things that you should wait on for a while longer, or even leave until the fall.

Here’s our list of do’s and don’ts for how to get your landscaping ready for spring in southern Ontario.

seeding dead patch in lawn Eising Garden Centre

Spring Landscaping Do’s 

1. Start treating dead lawn patches. If you’ve got a dog, you’re probably starting to see evidence of dead spots on your lawn. You can get a jumpstart on these now. Rake up the dead grass on them and loosen up the top layer of soil a bit with a hand rake. If the whole area has been growing sparsely, aerate by hand with a garden fork. Then spread grass seed across the patch, blending a bit into the surrounding grass. Lay a thin layer of soil over the top and tamp it down gently to help the seeds contact the soil. Then make a very light application of fertilizer and gently water the area. Remember to water daily if it doesn’t rain until the new grass is well established.

2. Are you adding trees and shrubs to your yard? Spring is an excellent time to get them into your landscape so they can establish a strong root system and settle into their new home. Make sure to water them consistently and give them a good layer of mulch over the roots to regulate moisture and soil temperature.

3. Spring is a great time to plant pollinator-friendly perennials, like:

  • Coneflower
  • Coreopsis
  • Gentian
  • Joe Pye weed
  • Marsh marigold
  • Milkweed
  • Monkshood
  • Obedient plant
  • Red trillium
  • Wild sweet William
  • Aster
  • Baneberry
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Blanket flower
  • Blazing star
  • Butterfly weed
  • Canada goldenrod
  • Canadian white violet
  • Columbine
  • Wild bergamot

4. Now is the time to get out and start dividing your perennials, so new splits have time to establish well in new locations.

5. Last but not least, start taking photos of your landscape, your plants and your garden. Capture the moments now, and when you look back later in the year or years in the future, you’ll be able to relive many great memories and appreciate how far your yard has come.

Sometimes it seems like there is endless work to be done in the yard, but don’t forget to pause and enjoy what you’ve created!

planting impatien plant Eising Garden Centre

Spring Landscaping Don’ts

1. Don’t start pruning spring-blooming shrubs and trees in your landscaping. Many things need pruning in spring, but early flowering plants, like lilac, forsythia, viburnum, and quince, shouldn’t be pruned until they finish flowering. It won’t hurt them to prune now, but it will remove some of the buds, so you’ll have fewer flowers.

2. Don’t prune your elm trees. Because of such a high risk of Dutch elm disease, you should not prune elm trees anymore this spring. To keep risk as low as possible, you should try to prune elm between the end of October and the end of March.

3. Don’t work on soil that is too frozen or wet. Walking on, or working in soil that is saturated with water, or just starting to thaw can cause compaction, so let your garden and beds dry a bit before you get into them. If you really need to get into a bed to do some landscaping cleanup, lay down a plank of wood where you need to walk since this distributes weight more evenly, preventing excessive compaction.

4. Don’t plant your favourite annuals or tender perennials before the last frost unless you’re prepared to cover them every night until the frost is gone for good. You can start hardening off seedling plants during the day, though.

5. Don’t cut your lawn too short. It can be tempting to get the lawnmower out and cut the lawn really short to get rid of all the dry and dead bits, but it’s still too early. Give your lawn a chance to get growing before you cut it. Ideally, wait until it’s about 3 inches tall before you start cutting, and don’t scalp it right away, mow it at about 2.5-3 inches for now.

6. Don’t forget to enjoy your landscaping and the lovely weather days this spring. It seems like there is endless work to be done in the yard, but don’t forget to pause and enjoy what you’ve created. Relish the first perennial blooms, the leaves bursting and watching the bees buzz around early flowers. Pat yourself on the back; you should be proud of what you’ve created!

Whatever you need to get your spring yard chores done, or if you need inspiration for landscaping design or planters, stop by the garden centre. We’re following provincial health protocols and are limiting the number of customers allowed in at a time, so you can feel safe and still make sure your yard looks great this spring.

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