When the weather warms, as it does, sometimes we like to venture out into the mushy remains of our early spring landscape.
*gets mauled by squirrels*
SO! Sometimes when the weather gets nice, we like to look at the spring landscape from the safety of our homes, WHERE THERE ARE NO STARVING SQUIRRELS. We can at least look out there and see what shame the melting snow has revealed.
Here are some tips for managing the Spring landscape. Follow at your own risk.
Don’t Fertilize the Grass
No, wait, I’m serious. You know what fertilizing does? It makes things grow faster. Like, a lot faster. You know what’s growing in the Spring? That’s right. Your goddamn grass is growing. The top part. The part that you have to MOW.
Fertilize in the fall. Twice. That’s when roots are growing. When you fertilize in the Spring, all you get is MORE grass and it’s LESS DROUGHT RESISTANT.
Use that Preen Stuff
Look, I don’t know what’s in it, but Preen in the flowerbeds is usually a good thing. It gets the plants growing and somehow spreads COLD DEATH to dandelions and other weeds that want to pop up in the landscape. Just throw that stuff anywhere¹ that isn’t grass. Like, anywhere¹.
*munches on Preen like it’s popcorn*
Put Up a Birdfeeder
You like birds, don’t you?
*eyes you suspiciously*
Fine, you know what? Any birdfeeder you put out is going to be feeding the squirrels, but that’s not such a terrible thing, is it?
*gives the squirrels a thumbs-up*
Just buy the high quality seed for your new feeder. You want high quality birds, don’t you? Just remember, cheap-ass seeds gets you cheap-ass birds.
You know that thing people do where they rake the ends of their front yard where the plow dumped a bunch of sandy, salty snow? Don’t.
Yeah, I know, most of my advice sounds a lot like being a lazy slob sitting on the sofa watching Project Runway reruns and sipping hard cider. But, you know, that doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Raking your early spring landscape can cause serious damage to your precious lawn. How can your neighbors ever respect you if your lawn is damaged?
Wait for it to dry out completely. If it’s a salt problem, just water heavily to get that salt diluted. If it’s sand, well, fine you can rake, but just don’t do it yet. Maybe put it off another week. Forever.
Tim Gunn² agrees with me on this one. You can ask him.
Prune Your Oaks
Early Spring before bud-break is a terrible time to prune trees and shrubs–except for oaks. Pruning when a tree isn’t actively growing means leaving a huge gaping wound for longer. That’s bad.
So why is it different for oaks? Well, see, there’s an oak bark beetle attracted to oak sap. You need to prune when the bug isn’t active and when the sap isn’t flowing. Or not at all. You know what? I’m just going to vote for ‘not at all’ here. I don’t own any oaks, though, so I guess you’re on your own.
You know what? Your vegetable garden is going to be FANTASTIC this year. You are TOTALLY NOT GOING TO NEGLECT IT IN THE MIDDLE OF SUMMER. Head over to Rare Seeds and pick up something fancy for yourself. It’ll be super cool.
It won’t be time to plant anything for months, though, so sit that ass back down in the sofa. Do you know how many seasons of Project Runway there are? A LOT. I’m serious.
There are SO many fixes and repairs needed in the landscape that you can’t do anything about yet. Know what you can do? WORRY! It’s a time-tested ritual that many landscapers enjoy. Are Spring rains going to run into your basement? Is that evergreen dead on one side? Has that ornamental grass escaped captivity to invade and ravage what little remains of the Minnesota prairie?
Here’s an exercise you can try. Speak the following sentence out loud, filling in the blank: “Oh, shit, last fall I forgot to _________”
Worried now? There you go. Nice work.
Whatever you do for your early spring landscape, do your best to enjoy the season. Sure, we probably have some snow coming still, but that doesn’t mean we can’t open the windows and enjoy a little bit of this early Spring thaw.
*gets mauled by squirrels*
¹Maybe read the label or whatever first.
²Oh, shit I hope Tim Gunn doesn’t read this.