Spring Cleanup Time: When To Start Spring Garden Cleaning

Spring Cleanup Time: When To Start Spring Garden Cleaning

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By: Mary Ellen Ellis

Knowing when to start and how to spring clean garden areasis important for the health of your local ecosystem. This is because many pollinatorsoverwinter in the dead material you may want to remove. By waiting to do yardand garden cleanup, and by doing this chore right, you will be saving many beesand butterflies.

Spring vs. Fall

Always spring clean your garden rather than doing a fallcleanup to protect pollinators and other beneficialinsects. Avoiding cleanup of dead plant material in the fall isn’tprocrastinating. It is an important way to protect your ecosystem. The materialprotects insects, promotes the growth of microbes,and ultimately further up the food chain supports birds and other animals.

Should I Clean up My Garden Early?

There is a very good reason to wait on cleaning your garden –pollinators. Many pollinators, like bees and butterflies, overwinter in deadplant material. They ride out the cold weather there and emerge in spring to dotheir good work.

By removing dead material too early, you risk destroyingmany of these pollinators. A good rule of thumb is to wait until temperaturesare consistently about 50 F. (10 C.). This will help protect habitat in thespring and ensure you have a robust and healthy pollinator population andoverall garden ecosystem.

Protecting Pollinators at Spring Cleanup Time

Regardless of when you begin, knowing how to spring cleangarden material in a way that protects your pollinators will allow you to saveeven more of them:

When clearing out old stems, look for bee activity, such asends plugged with mud or plant material. Leave those in place for nesting bees.If you pick out old stems that may have bees nesting, move them to a corner ofthe garden for a few extra weeks so that bees can emerge. You can leave them onthe ground or tie them in bundles to hang from trees or fences.

Watch out for chrysalisesand cocoons when pruning back shrubs and other woody material. If a branchhosts one of these, leave it in place for now.

Butterflies, ladybugs,assassinbugs, and other beneficial insects nest in piles of leaf matter. Move leafpiles to a corner of the garden and leave undisturbed for a while.

Don’t smother the soil in beds with mulch until it isgenerally warm to avoid blocking in-ground nesting bees and other insects.

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Top 10 Spring Cleaning Tips

For many of us, the warmer weather usually sparks great motivation to tackle the tasks that may have pushed aside during the cold winter months. With the warmer weather here and continually warming up, it’s time to begin to be proactive and start accomplishing your spring maintenance responsibilities. Here’s a list of maintenance tasks and tips as you begin knocking items off your list!

1. Wash Walls, Cabinets, and Baseboards

This task is truly only necessary to do once or twice a year so with spring cleaning in mind, now is the perfect time to do it. Make sure to wipe down all surfaces with a dry cloth or sponge to remove dust buildup, followed by wiping down with a soapy cloth. Scrub walls top to bottom and make sure to leave a door open to allow for ventilation to help in the drying process. Clean baseboards with a wet towel and work to remove all dust build-up that has occurred during the past few months.

2. Clean Windows and Screens

To effectively clean your windows and screens, first, remove the screen entirely from the window. It will be easier to clean the two if they are separated. To wash the screen, spray with a garden hose and scrub with soapy water to remove all dirt build-up and allow it to dry. If any dirt remains, try scrubbing with a brush. For the windows, simply clean with soapy water and hand-dry with a dry rag. After both the windows and screens are dry, reassemble.

3. Wipe Down Ceiling Fan Blades, Light Fixtures, and Vents

Lots of dirt and dust tend to resignate in those hard to reach places so it’s important, especially during spring cleaning, to clean and remove all build-up. To do this, make sure you have a step ladder or some other ladder so you can safely reach the areas that need cleaning. It’s important to clean the items such as the ceiling fan blades, hanging light fixtures, and vents strategically so you can refrain from the dirt and grime falling down to your carpets and flooring. To clean your ceiling fan, grab a garbage bag and insert the blade inside. Wipe the blade as much as you can as it is in the bag and repeat for the remaining blades. Next, grab some all-purpose cleaner and clean rags and wipe down each blade. Similar procedures may be used to clean light fixtures and vents using a clean rag and all-purpose cleaner.

4. Vacuum Low Traffic Areas

Low-traffic areas tend to get neglected because they aren’t used often, however, they still need to get some love. Vacuuming should be done often to help with the life of your flooring. Low-traffic areas may include, underneath furniture, the floors of closets, and other hard to reach spots. Move all furniture and items from closets to ensure every area in the home is free from accumulating dust and allergens.

5. Clean Carpets

To ensure the cleanliness of your space, carpet cleaning is a great way to start! Clean carpets can really help bring greater appeal to the property and change the look drastically! Now that spring cleaning time is here, now is the perfect time to clean them! You can borrow or purchase a carpet cleaner from any company but either way, cleaning them will help get them back looking how they did on day one.

6. De-clutter

During the time you have set aside for your spring cleaning, it’s important you especially set additional time aside to de-clutter. Decluttering makes you more efficient and keeps you organized. Studies have shown that a disorganized home can add more stress to your body. It can signal to your brain that there is still more work to be done. So with the inhaling of dust, combined with a disorganized home, it can really take a toll on your body. Take some time to organize your closets, look through your dreaded junk drawer, and organize a disorganized room in your home. While organizing, make sure to throw away unneeded items and make it look clean. Some questions you should ask yourself while going through items should be:

  • Do I use this?
  • Do I want this?
  • Do I need this?

These questions can help you better get rid of items that might not be needed anymore.

7. Change Furnace and HVAC Filters

Replacing your furnace and HVAC filters is one of the most important and overlooked parts of spring cleaning. However, doing so can help you breathe better air as the summer months come rolling in. In fact, replacing the standard filters with higher quality and higher MERV ratings can help keep you healthier. It will catch smaller particles that can also make it so you don’t have to clean your air conditioner ducts as often. Overall, replacing these filters can help with the air quality of your home and keep you less likely to wake up stuffy every morning from the spring allergies.

8. Dust Everywhere

It is likely that lots of dust have accumulated in many areas of your home during the winter season. If you have severe allergies, then these dust particles might affect you even more during the spring months. This dust has likely accumulated in areas such as furniture, fixtures, and other surfaces. Be sure to remove all dust by using a cleaner of your choice and running a clean rag along all surfaces. Also, be sure to remove all dust from the tops of your baseboards as it is likely this doesn’t get done often and dust particles are present.

9. Clean Gutters and Remove Leaves

Depending on the size of the property, this task my be manageable by yourself, or it could be something you wish to hire out. Either, way, it is important to make sure all gutters are clean and are able to drain excess water properly. Be sure they get cleared of any materials such as leaves, small sticks or branches, and other organic material that may have accumulated during the fall and winter storms. Any excess leaves on the lawn can easily be removed by mowing them up or by using a mulcher mower that will then fertilize the grass with the cut-up leaves. Doing this can also improve the appearance of the yard.

10. Educate Your Tenants

Now that you have either completed your spring cleaning or at least got a list of the item you wish to complete this spring, it’s time to also educate your tenants on the ways they should be keeping up with the upkeep of the property. Let them know what you expect them to be doing and set up a time for an inspection. Doing this will help with the overall flow and order of your property and keep it in better condition.

If you have any questions or suggestions, contact Keyrenter Highlands Ranch today!

Trees, Shrubs, and Perennials

Give your plants a solid foundation to build upon by clipping away any dead, dying, or diseased branches. While you're at it, cut back any branches that are encroaching on walkways or high-traffic areas, so they don't get accidentally broken off during the spring and summer months. Not only will this make your backyard more inviting, but it'll also allow more sunlight and air to reach the center of trees and shrubs.

Not all plants are created equal, so follow this handy pruning guide to make sure you treat yours right:

  • Ornamental Grasses: Tie the tops of the grasses for quick and easy cutting, and then snip as close to the ground as possible.
  • Semi-woody Perennials: Cut back butterfly bushes and Russian sage to about 4 inches tall.
  • Broad-leaved Evergreens: Prune any injured foliage from evergreens like boxwood or holly firethorn. Wait until early summer to hedge.
  • Flowering trees: Before roses and hydrangeas fully bloom, remove dead, damaged, or crowded stems, and shape or cut back as desired.

A Super-Easy Spring Flower Bed Cleanup

Learn a trick to make spring garden cleanup easy—and improve your soil at the same time.

Species Tulip

Known as the red crocus tulip, Tulipa humilis violacea is an heirloom species tulip, dating to 1860. Purple-rose petals have a yellow base. Flowers open in sunlight and close with at night or cloud cover. Blooms appear in early April on plants 4 to 6 inches high. Hardy in Zones 4-8.

Photo by: Julie Martens Forney

Related To:

Spring’s arrival bursts into town with red-breasted robins and species tulips, dainty members of the tulip clan. When the leaves of these tiny jewels poke through the soil, it’s time to clean up flower beds. Even if you cleaned up your beds last fall, you can adapt this spring cleanup method to every garden season. It takes its cue from Mother Nature’s handiwork.

In a forest, leaves fall to the ground and, within a growing season, disappear. No one rakes, gathers or piles those leaves up. Instead, a natural network of animals, insects and microorganisms work over those leaves until they’re incorporated into soil. That layer of decomposed leaf litter is known as humus, and it’s an amazing, fertile substance because it’s chockful of microscopic critters. Those microorganisms are why compost is known as black gold.

You can mimic and jump-start this same process in your flower beds using the chop and drop method during spring cleanup.

Early Spring Flower Bed

If perennial and ornamental grass stems aren’t clipped prior to winter, the early spring flower bed can appear messy. In fact, the remaining stems help protect perennial crowns through winter by trapping blowing leaves. Seedheads provide forage for birds, and stems offer nesting material.

Photo by: Julie Martens Forney

After cutting back perennial stems left over winter, instead of bagging and bundling them to haul off to your local yard waste center, chop them into pieces and drop them on the flower bed. It’s that simple. The end result isn’t unsightly, especially if you chop stems into small pieces.

Chopped Stems On Flower Bed

The chop and drop method of mulching involves cutting back spent plants and chopping stems into pieces that you drop onto the bed. Stem pieces provide a mulch that breaks down to feed soil.

Watch the video: Spring Cleanup: How to Cut Back Perennials


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