How to get a head start on your lawn and garden


Cool spring days are perfect for planning and prepping your yard and garden projects.

Spring officially arrived last week – hurray! While we may still get a flurry or two, here are four things you can do to get your yard and garden ready for a new season of growth.

Plan your projects

Is it time for a landscaping overhaul or just a refresh? Either way, make a plan.

If you’ll hire professionals to do the work, line them up now.

If you’re doing it yourself, do your homework. Research plants that will thrive in your growing conditions. Calculate quantities you’ll need for supplies like mulch or topsoil. Do soil testing to learn exactly which nutrients your lawn and garden need ­– and save money on over-application of fertilizers.

Get your equipment ready

Get the mower tuned up now. If you wait till later, you’ll have to get in line with everyone else who put off maintenance. Sharpen the blades on mowers and pruners, too.

Time your pruning

Now is a good time cut away any damaged or dead limbs.

When shaping healthy flowering shrubs and trees, however, pay attention to your timing. Go ahead and prune those that flower on new growth – like Butterfly Bush, Rose of Sharon, Potentilla and Lavender.

Rhododendron, Azalea, Dogwood, Forsythia, Lilac, most Hydrangeas and many others bloom on last year’s growth. If you want to enjoy their springtime show, wait to prune until after they flower.

When to start your garden

Here’s a quick and easy way to test if your garden soil is ready to be worked, courtesy of the MSU Extension Service. Grab a handful of soil and squeeze then open your hand. If the soil clumps together it’s too soon; if it crumbles it’s ready for planting.

Cool season crops to start now include onions, beets, lettuce, spinach, carrots and radishes.

Tackle these projects now and you’ll have more time later for summer fun!

Consumers helps more than 1,000 members finance their homes and home improvement projects each year. When you need a mortgage or home equity line of credit, call us at 800-991-2221. We’re here to help you get the home of your dreams!

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