Get your garden ready for summer’s glorious return with this simple spring maintenance plan. From planting to fighting weeds before they have a chance to take hold, you can set your landscape up for peak-season beauty with a few simple steps.
1) Take Care With New Growth
Spring is a time of growth, and that means grasses, trees and other plant life is putting out delicate new shoots and leaves at this time of year, especially in the earliest parts of the season. That means you should be as delicate as possible with the plants in your landscape as you perform these maintenance tasks.
2) Clean Up After a Rainy Winter
It may be tempting to do a thorough cleanup as soon as the official start of spring rolls around, especially after the wild winter Southern California saw in late 2016 and early 2017. But until any new grass or groundcover growth gets mature, you’ll want to avoid too much walking, raking or mowing over these surfaces. You can walk over your grass to pick up large branches and other detritus, but it’s best to keep foot traffic minimal while the ground is still damp. You can start raking, pruning and doing other heavy-duty cleanup chores once new growth reaches full size and hardiness.
3) Fight Weeds Before They Arrive
The best offense against weeds is a good defense. Though you can’t see them yet, weeds are planning their summer comeback. Springtime offers the perfect opportunity to take defensive measures against weeds before they have time to put down roots and stage a full-scale invasion. Use pre-emergent weed killer on your lawn once at the beginning of spring and again in mid summer so your defenses stay strong.
4) Plant Summer Vegetables and Fruits
Southern California gardeners who want to enjoy some fresh, home-grown produce over the summer should put seed starts into the ground beginning in March and April. Lettuce, peas, radish, spinach, beets and early tomatoes can get planted in March. Later-season crops like basil, corn, eggplants and peppers are better left til April.
March is also the perfect time to plant new citrus trees in Southern California. If your yard doesn’t have an orange, lemon, lime or pomelo tree yet, this year is the perfect time to change that. Other fruit trees, including stone fruits like peach or plum, can also get into the ground in early Spring.