Springtime is here, and you might be wondering what you can do to get your landscape looking its best as quickly as possible. Over time, we’ve come up with some tried and true methods that are sure to get your landscape in tip top shape just in time for the spring bloom.
Along the Front Range and Pikes Peak region, it’s tough to say exactly when it’s time to fire up your irrigation system. It also varies by region - someone in downtown Colorado Springs is probably going to be able to activate their sprinklers sooner than someone in Monument or Woodland Park. Once you start seeing nighttime lows consistently staying above freezing, it’s usually a good time to get your system up and running. There will still be nights that are going to get cold enough to cause damage to your sprinkler system, but quick draining your system will be enough to protect it this time of year. It’s a little more work to watch the weather and drain your system as needed, but your lawn and plants will thank you for it, as they will look better and healthier faster. You can learn more about quick draining your system and find helpful diagrams by clicking here.
Another mistake people make with their irrigation is to take a “set it and forget it” approach, especially with their turf zones. Your lawn is not going to need the same amount of water in March or April that it needed last July. You can usually start the spring watering of your turf three days a week, and adjust as temperatures rise. It’s also important to have a look at your sprinkler system the first time you turn it on, and make sure there aren’t any leaks, clogs, or broken heads. Also take a look and make sure the sprinkler heads are operating properly, spraying the area they’re supposed to.
Once you’re getting water back on your lawn, there are a few other steps that will get it back to its green lush self in no time. Aeration will jumpstart your lawn by allowing air, water, and nutrients to more efficiently reach the root zone. This in turn will encourage greater root depth, which improves overall turf health, as well as drought tolerance. Fertilizing your lawn will provide the nutrition your lawn needs to start growing out of dormancy. You’ll want to add nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and the trace elements iron and sulfur. Home Depot and other hardware stores sell Scott’s products, which is a tried and true brand and their products are excellent. If your lawn has bare spots or is suffering from excessive winter kill, overseeding after aeration will help it to fill back in. Always apply lawn and garden products in accordance with the label directions.
Getting that irrigation going will provide your plants with the water they need, but just like turf, a spring fertilization will really give them what they need to start pushing out new growth. There are a number of different plant fertilizers available, but our own local Harding’s Nursery sells their own proprietary plant fertilizer blend, and we’ve had great success with it. Spring is also time to finish any pruning still needed. Leaving ornamental grasses over the winter provides nice interest, but you’ll want to cut them back to about 6” above the ground before they start pushing new growth. The spring is a great time to prune your shrubs as well, you can trim them to shape, and also remove any dead sections. If you didn’t prune your perennials last fall, now’s the time for that as well, and you’ll want to cut them back to about 6” above the ground too.
Over the winter your wood mulch tends to get sun bleached and matted down. Nothing freshens up a planting bed like fresh mulch. If you are using a shredded wood mulch, you can often use a hard rake or pitchfork to flip over and fluff up the mulch, giving it brand new life. Over time, it does become necessary to bring in some new mulch to top dress the existing. A refreshed mulch bed will make your landscape look new again.
Getting started on getting your landscape looking its best in early spring will pay you back quickly. Your landscape will bounce back from winter quicker, and be healthier. There’s nothing like having the best looking landscape on the block, and when your landscape is looking its best, there’s nothing to stop you from getting outside and enjoying it.
Colorado State offers a wealth of information on lawn and landscape care. For more information on watering, fertilizing, and seasonal care you can visit CSU Landscape Resources. If you have any questions or concerns about your landscape, we’re here for you. Contact us to get in touch with one of our landscape experts.