Maintenance Tips for a Healthy Landscape

The best part about spring is being outdoors and enjoying your landscape! After harsh winter conditions, however, our landscapes need some TLC. Here’s your spring maintenance checklist to make sure your landscape is ready for the season.

Pull Weeds! We often think of weeds as a summer task. Surprising as it may sound, we have many winter weeds in Nebraska. Pull them out now while they are young before they get established. This is best done after rain when the soil is moist as they pull right out. Cover disturbed areas with mulch immediately to suppress new weeds.

Fertilize! If you have poor soils or hungry plants, spring is the best time to fertilize. Whether you choose to compost or commercial fertilizers, select one with a balance of nutrients 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 with micronutrients and not an overly high nitrogen content.

Mulch! Mulch decomposes over time and turns into natural compost fertilizer. Add a fresh layer to keep beds looking good, suppress weeds, insulate plants, hold in moisture, and increase your soil health. Only add 1″ for a total depth of 2-3″.

Apply Pre-Emergent! Pre-emergent helps prevent pesky annual weed seeds such as foxtail, crabgrass, and others from developing. It’s best applied in April with an optional second application in May/June.

Cut Back! Cut back last year’s growth from perennials and grasses. It is best to wait until mid-April for this to allow the beneficial insects who overwinter on your plants to wake up and move on, but before the new growth begins.

Prune! Prune spring-flowering shrubs right after they bloom if they need it. Prune trees, remove suckers, crossing branches, damaged branches, and low hanging branches. Limit the removals to 10% of the canopy.

Pro tip: Ornamental grasses, Russian Sage, Butterfly Bush, and perennials are all good examples of plans that should be cut back to within 3-6″ of the soil. Hold off on pruning spring flowering shrubs that bloom on last year’s growth such as lilac, forsythia, and magnolia. These should be pruned after they bloom, usually in late spring or early summer.

Need help? Call Jensen Gardens to help with the leg work and handle everything from clearing out debris to refining the bed edges to pruning and shaping. 402.253.8880.