It’s been a long winter, and we’re all finally emerging from hibernation. The birds are chirping, you see neighbours you haven’t seen in months, and now that the snow has melted you also see the debris that old man winter has deposited in your yard. This will include leftover leaves from the fall, fallen branches courtesy of winter’s icy wind storms, newspapers and packaging blown in from who knows where, and of course, droppings from your neighbours’ dogs.
Like spring cleaning your house that’s been sealed up all winter, doing a spring yard clean up will make your outdoor living space way more livable. It will also give your lawn and gardens a head start on looking awesome when summer finally arrives.
Neglecting to clean up your yard can have negative impacts on your property through the rest of the spring and summer. Besides the obvious aesthetic issues, your lawn and delicate plants can become smothered in all that debris, leading to brown spots on grass and the loss of perennials.
Here’s The Best Way to Do a Spring Yard Clean Up
Cleaning your yard can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.
Let us help make your life easier with these useful tips!
1. Survey the Damage as Soon as the Snow Melts
Once the last of the snow has gone, assess the situation in terms of the kind and amount of debris and what you’ll need to attack it. Preparation is key to making your spring yard clean up successful and enjoyable. So, put on your favorite comfortable clothes and get out there and get some fresh air.
Tools you’ll want on hand:
- Gardening or work gloves
- Boots or comfortable shoes
- Yard/leaf rake
- Smaller leaf rake for garden
- Wheelbarrow or cart
- Garbage bags
- Paper yard waste bags
- Recycling bin
- Pruning snips or scissors
- Twine (for bundling twigs and branches)
2. Pick Up, Clean Up, Wrap Up
Remove any fallen branches and twigs, random newspapers, packaging, doggy doo-doo, pine cones and leaves. If you raked leaves thoroughly in the fall, you’ve aided your chances of avoiding the fungal disease known as snow mold. Even if you don’t have leaves everywhere, you’ll want to break out the rake as part of your spring clean up lawn work – a deep raking will also help control thatch build-up (by removing dead grass and allowing new grass space to grow). Think of it as a scalp massage for your lawn. Before you start raking be sure the ground is completely dry; raking over wet grass can tear it out by the roots, leaving you with more bare patches. Leaves, branches, and twigs can be collected, bundled and bagged as yard waste in most municipalities – pet waste is not recommended for composting.
3. Tidy Up and Prepare Your Garden Beds
Spring clean up in the garden begins with removing and composting any dead annual plants that remained over winter. Also, remove any dead leaves and stalks from perennials and ornamental grasses that you didn’t take away in the fall. Scissors often work better than pruners for this task (you can get into tight spaces easier with them).
Any deep layer of mulch (which even includes matted leaves that blew into the garden on their own) should be carefully removed so that the perennials can come through unhindered. It’s impossible to give an exact date for when to remove this mulch; you’ll have to play it by ear. The further north you are, the later the seasons change.
4. Tune Up Your Lawn Mower
You may not be mowing the grass for a while, but when the time comes, you’ll want your lawn mower is in good condition. If you didn’t remove the dirty oil, or replace the spark plugs during the fall (I know I didn’t), now’s the time to replace them with fresh new oil and plugs. Also, lightly lubricate the wheel bearing, height adjuster, and any other moving parts by following the manual’s instructions. Make sure to have the lawn mower blades sharpened by a professional, so they’ll cut the grass evenly. If you’re less of a DIY person, you can find a local lawn mower specialist who will tune the whole thing up.
What Should You Do With All That Yard Clean Up Stuff?
Many municipalities collect yard waste at the curb, beginning in the spring and on alternating weeks throughout the summer. The yard waste that is collected is turned into compost – rich black soil that is used in parks and public gardens, and in some areas, offered to the public for free. These yard waste programs allow communities to divert tons of yard waste from landfill each year, which is a very good thing.
What is typically accepted as yard waste:
- Small tree limbs, trunks, stumps
- Plant material including weeds and brush
Place yard waste at the curb in those big craft paper yard waste bags (or whatever your municipality accepts) and bundle branches as per your local requirements. You can also use yard waste as part of your own home composting.
When is Yard Waste Collected?
GarbageDay sends you yard waste pick up reminders based on your city’s schedule. We’ll let you know when the first and last pick ups are coming up so you can get out there and have the best spring yard clean up ever. If you’re not currently getting GarbageDay yard waste reminders and tips, download the free app and make sure you select the option in Settings.