Growing season chores

Get an early start on preparing your lawn and garden for the growing season by organizing supplies and completing chores promptly.

When spring is just around the corner, it is time to start thinking about working outdoors. There in something about cleaning up the yard that makes most of us feel good. Since many people use their lawns as play areas for the kids or entertainment centers for special events, it makes sense to get the yard in shape when warm weather arrives.

One of the first things to do is on the next nice day, go out and start cleaning the yard. Rake up all the leaves and tree branches that have fallen during the winter. Then clean up any trash or litter, such as empty cans or garbage that got blown all over during a windstorm.

Another helpful task is to trim all the brush and any dead branches that remain on your trees. Then walk around the house and the yard to see where you would like to plant spring flowers and shrubs. Tulips are one of the most popular flowers; they come in many different colors, and they bloom early. You should measure how much area you have to plant flowers so you know how many to buy. Of course, bulbs will need to be planted the previous fall in order for them to bloom by spring, so plan accordingly.

Next, start getting the ground ready for planting. If you have never planted flowers in your yard, you need to buy a test kit to determine if your soil has the proper amount of minerals to grow the plants you want. Take the sample to a nursery and the staff can tell you what to buy to enrich your soil so the plants will grow. They also will tell you what kind of chemicals your soil lacks. Many times you can get a good deal on topsoil and peat moss if you buy ten or more bags. You can also buy different colors of wood chips to decorate your flowerbeds.

When you work on your driveway, you might want to buy different sizes of white gravel and plant flowers on the sides to decorate it. Around your trees you can first cut the grass short with a weed eater, then dig a circle around the tree. Next lay down plastic and cover it with dirt. Then you can put wood chips or white gravel down, or other substances. The plastic will keep grass and weeds from growing through the wood chips. This technique looks nice and can save you from trimming around the trees. People do this in flowerbeds so weeds don't grow through.

When it is time to cut the lawn for the first time, try to rake up the cut grass and do all your weed trimming and edging first, which will make the mowing part easier. The more often you do it, the easier it is to do. Look for molehills or insect nests and take care of these before cutting the grass to avoid injuries.

An attractive, well-kept lawn will provide enjoyment all season. Get started early to prolong your pleasure and minimize maintenance.

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