In our cruise down life’s highway, we see another winter in our rearview mirror.
That means spring is hurtling right at us. With the snow gone, we can clearly see how our yards have been ravaged by the last season. Brown grass, fallen limbs, peeling paint and weeds growing already are evident.
But on the bright side, the birds are singing, flowers are starting to bloom, trees are leafing, and the scene is starting to refresh itself.
That makes now the perfect time to get a head start on making our lawn the envy of the neighborhood.
Here is a spring yard cleanup checklist you can tackle yourself, followed by a few tips if you’d prefer hiring professional help:
• First, pick up the obvious debris. Removing fallen branches, plastic grocery bags, other litter and gifts the dog left behind will aid the healthy growth of new grass.
• Where did all these leaves come from? You raked last year, right? Well, take a rake to the yard and give it a good once-over. Getting rid of any dead leaves, twigs or pinecones will give your yard a solid boost.
• Attack and pull the weeds already growing in the cracks and along the sidewalk and driveway. It is easier now when it’s moister. Pressure wash with a low-pressure tip to remove algae spots or leaf stains. Remove heaved pavers, level the ground beneath and reset them.
• Clean up your flower beds and prune dead branches from shrubs and trees. Take a pair of small garden shears to dead leaves and stalks of perennials and ornamental grasses. Before pruning, look up the area’s guidelines for the shrubs and trees you should trim now. Normally, trimming flowering shrubs and trees should be done later in the spring to ensure nice blooms.
• Winter can really take a toll on fences. Remove rotted, damaged pickets, boards or lattice. Patch rotted sections with epoxy and install new wood where needed. Check for wobbly fence posts and replace them when needed. There are several videos on YouTube explaining the process. Revive wooden sections and posts, prep the wood with 60 grit sandpaper, then follow with a new coat of paint or stain.
• Get your mower ready. Have your mower serviced. Make sure the blade is sharp. Dull mower blades rip grass instead of cutting it, leaving a ragged cut that is vulnerable to diseases. If applicable, check the starter, air filter, belts, spark plug, and battery.
• Don’t fertilize just yet. You’ll not only give the weeds a big boost but doing so also means rapid grass growth which results in having to mow sooner and more often.
If you’re not the DIY-type, here are some tips for selecting professional assistance:
• Decide what needs to be done and your budget to get it done. Get recommendations from family and friends you trust.
• Get your lawn inspected so the contractor can assess the range of work to be done and give an accurate estimate of costs, avoiding later surprises.
• Request references and photos of their work and visit the sites to decide on the quality of that work.
• Get it in writing. Include the services rendered, the scope of work, when it is to be done, cost and payment schedules, discounts offered, service call charges, if any, as well as the duration of the contract and if and how it may be canceled.
• Get a receipt for any money paid and a list of exactly what the payment covers. For your safety, it is always best to pay by check or credit card.
Here’s to a happy spring! Be safe!
Reghan Winkler is executive director of the Better Business Bureau serving West Central Ohio. The BBB may be found on the Internet at bbb.org/us/oh/lima.