Springtime has finally arrived to Centerport, New York. Warmer days are upon us, convertible tops in cars are going down and now it's time to get your yard back in shape. I usually start out by walking the property and take note to what needs immediate attention and to assess the outdoor living spaces to see what needs a bigger hand getting back into shape. Many Holly trees, Skip Laurels and some other evergreens have suffered winter burn across the island and should hopefully be pushing new growth by this time.
It's imperative to focus on cleaning up your entire property this month, from your gardens, to your lawn, to your hardscapes. The winter of 2014-2015 dragged on on Long Island well in to April, and your property may need some extra TLC because of it. Sand from the roadways are now in the driveway and all the way to the front door.
Don't forget to clean out weeds left over from last year or any new weeds that started growing in your garden this year.
Now's the time to plant Pansies for early color. Pansies come in a variety of colors, such as blacks, deep purples, blues, and yellows. They look great in containers as well as in the ground within flower beds and along walkways. Consider planting bulbs in your gardens and landscapes too.
Clean up the obvious such as any branches, limbs, or any other tree debris from your yard. De-Thatch your lawn with a hard.
Prune back any trees or shrubs. Remember not to prune back flowering trees and shrubs that depend on old wood to bloom. Additionally, prune off any dead or winter-killed branches and limbs from your trees and shrubs.
Spruce up your perennials. Remove last year's growth and cut back any plants that didn't get trimmed last fall.
Use a power leaf blower to blow out all the winter debris form your lawn. Remember it's been accumulating for four months.
Now's the time to fertilize your flower gardens and apply pre-emergent to the lawn. It's also a good idea to re-cut all those bed edges for the aesthetic value first and to hold in the mulch later.
Turn on your sprinkler system and go through all the zones to make sure all areas are getting covered and replace any broken heads. (there is always one or two especially with this winter) I like to keep miscellaneous fittings around for this.
Turn on all outside hose faucets and check for leaks. Check that all your nozzles are working without any leaks. If they are leaking, check to see if the round rubber gasket need replacement. These are easy to get….
Hand water newly planted trees and shrubs from last season and monitor their health weekly. You can check visually to see new growth.
Clean the gutters and check all your drainage around the foundation. Make sure there is still a slope away from the house.
Clean out the catch basins in low lying areas- It will be raining often and you want to make sure water and run off are flowing correctly.
This is a great time to split and transplant your perennials. They are just starting to emerge and are easiest to move now. Take a look around your flower beds and rock gardens to decide where you'll be splitting and moving your perennials to create a different look this spring. (or who you will give them away to)
Create a list and take note of all your containers planting boxes and the spaces you use annuals. I like to take pics on my phone for reference when I'm shopping in the greenhouses.
Shop annuals early to get the best selection of what you want but don't put tropical plants out yet. Ask your garden center to hold them until the weather has no chance of frost. Usually Mid-May on Long Island They are usually accommodating if you pay for them first.
Use a drip watering system for your containers so you don't have to move them to an area where the sprinklers are active. If you did this last year, run them and adjust them. Simple systems are available and easily connect to your existing zone. All you need to do is to find the hose to connect to next to an existing head.
Consider planting some of your split perennials for existing containers or pots.
Prepare your flower gardens for beautiful blooms this spring and summer by turning the soil.
Apply mulch around your large shade trees and in all landscaped beds.
It's beneficial and proactive to apply horticultural oil to your trees to protect them from insects and disease.
Great time of year to power wash a dirty retaining wall, fence, walkway or any hardscape before mulching and surrounding gardens are filling in.
Consider rejuvenating the look of your paving stones by cleaning, re-sanding, and sealing to remove algae, car oil, and cooking grease. Hardscape maintenance is minimal but from time to time must be done. Do this one every 3-5 years depending on the shade or sun conditions.
Check all the light low-voltage landscape light fixtures and change any bulbs as needed. Consider upgrading the new bulbs to LED. Warmer color tones are available now. Get ones that are between 2700k and 3000k. Same goes for those coach lights at the front and back doors, any post lights and pier lights. LED is an easy upgrade, change the old ones as they burn out.
Check that all gates are operating and if you have a fenced in pool area, make sure the self-closing operates and is actually closing and latching for safety. Most latches are easy to adjust if needed.
Clean the fire pit and refill the firewood bins. Check your propane and gas ones to see that they are working properly for the season.
Remember to fill your propane tanks for outdoor heaters, grills and don't forget the tiki torch oil!
Pool and spa maintenance is coming next… make sure you have what you need and get it now if you don't. Everyone will be thinking the same thing on the next 70 degree day and pool suppliers will be busy.
Obviously, there's a lot to do this spring season to recover from this year's harsh winter. If you enjoy spending time outdoors like I do, then this list is a must do. If you live in Nassau or Suffolk County, New York, don't hesitate to call me direct if you need any help. ~Lenny