FARM GIRL BY CATHY WILKINSON
Jim Wilkinson cleaning up brush and doing some spring cleaning in his pasture.Submitted photo
There is always work and cleanup in the spring.
Spring brings new life, new colours, sunny days and lots of yards to clean up. Getting out into the spring air can revitalize you as well as your plants. Doing a little simple proactive lawn care can lead to a healthy and vigorous landscape.
You may have thought that all your hard work over the summer months would pay off in the spring; everything would look nice and ready to go when spring rolls around. But as the snow melts, this year’s wild winter storms have played a number on every homeowner’s yard. We all need to clean up and if you’re like me, you are overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin. Here are a few tips to get you organized and started:
– Take a walk around your yard and survey all the damage that occurred during the winter months. If you have a dog you should clean up its winter activity right away. Spray it down with water to the salt from urine in the ground, doing this will allow less damage to the grass and it should grow back nice and green.
– Check your lawn for matted patches of grass. This could be snow mould and it’s when the grass blades stick together and don't allow for new growth. A light raking over the lawn will cure this. If you have leaves on your lawn, they should be raked up because this can also cause snow mould and won’t allow for new growth.
– Check your wooded plants for damage. This year, being so long and so much snow, the mice were busy. I lost a wonderful apple tree from the mice being hungry and eating the bark around the tree. Putting a piece of plastic around the bottom of the trees will stop the mice from chewing off the bark and causing the tree to die. If you have high bush blueberries, the mice will eat them too.
– Remove old dead annual plants. This will loosen the ground and they’re easy to pull out. This allows room for new plants.
– Pick up rocks and tree branches that have blown or fallen or have been pushed from your snow plow. This allows for safer mowing when the time comes.
– Patch rough lawn patches. Any place where the lawn is not growing, rake up the area to loosen the soil and plant some grass seed. Then put some straw over the seed to hold it in place, once we see the sun the grass will grow nicely. The straw will allow the seeds to root and not blow away.
– Check fences for loose or damaged posts, sweep walkways, remove dead limbs, check walkways and patios for damaged rocks and wood.
There is so much to do that the lists are long. I hope this will give everyone an idea and a starting point with your cleanup. There are so many to-do’s in the spring when you are a homeowner so get busy and get out there to take in some fresh air.
Take the time to see new growth and beauty. Maybe this year, you could try planting an apple or pear tree. Get the children involved and let them pick out a special tree to plant or even their favourite flowers and let them plant them. You can never have too many plants or trees. The birds and bees will thank you.
Cathy Wilkinson of Broadway, Pictou County, teaches 4H in the county and has a small hobby farm she tends to when she isn’t working as a corrections officer. Her monthly columns will focus on farming community as well as 4H activities.