Spring is here, and it is time to think about kickstarting your Big Post-Winter Garden Cleanup!
When & Why You Should Spring Clean the Garden:
It's your garden spring clean between the start of the Irish Spring, aka the season of Imbolc, up to the Easter Season. Why?
- The weather is a lot more settled and dry. With the brighter days, brighter bouts of sunshine and increasingly longer stretches in the evening, it is an excellent time to embark on this much-needed series of tasks
You may not want to clean up your garden too early during the winter months, as the ground cover of dead leaves, or old foliage may still benefit pollinators and insects in hibernation. This accumulation also provides a ready ecosystem of food for birds in winter
- It is essential to clean up dead plants, pull-out old growth and clear away debris to make way for the critical season of new spring planting that is just around the corner
New spring shoots will be ready to emerge from dormant wintering plants. You will need to clear away any old plants or foliage in the way now that the worst of the frost is gone. This allows more light to reach your new shoots
Pruning old shoots or stems will encourage faster and more abundant new growth
- It will also be a safety hazard should there be broken branches or overgrown areas that may impede pathways or cross over into neighbouring gardens
- As Easter approaches, you will want your home and garden to be presentable as you may start entertaining outdoors more. Besides, you’ll want a lovely garden in time for the Easter Egg hunts
- If you have children, they’ll spend more time outdoors during the Easter holidays. Ensure the backyard is in good nick when they’ve got friends over too
A Checklist Before Spring Cleaning Your Garden
Before you begin the big Garden Spring clean, you may want to prepare.
Give Your Tools a Quick Once Over
- Sterilise your tools to remove any old soil pathogens. This prevents any old diseases or dangerous infections from inadvertently spoiling the new growth
- Guarding against pathogens is essential especially if you’re growing your vegetables in the same garden. All it takes is a quick soak. Use a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water for a half hour
- Check your tools for rust
- Sharpen cutting tools or blades where necessary
Stock Up On These Supplies
- A hardy, thick set of work gloves as you may be in touch with lots of sharp ends or thorns whilst handling sharp tools too
- A decent power washer will be necessary for the stone walls, paving and architectural features of your garden and external property
Stock up on decking oil or Mould-killer detergents and sprays for clearing up your patio and decking.
A decent set of shears, hand shears and long range extendable clippers.
A garden rake
A long-handled hard wire brush
A wheelbarrow if you have a larger garden to traverse, and more foliage on your property that needs to be transported to a compost heap
A composter will come in handy for recycling dead leaves
Large compostable bin bags if you don’t have a compost heap
Tidy And Reorganise Your Shed
- Before you start, give yourself a good base to work from. Give your shed a good tidy. Lay out and clean down the tools and equipment you will be needing - this way, you’ll spot what’s missing. This includes the cleaning materials you will be needing
- Be sure to check for the buildup of rust
A Step-By-Step Guide For Spring Cleaning Your Garden
Look out for Loose or Overgrown Branches
- Do a quick safety check if you have trees on your property. Look out for old, damaged, or decayed branches before they become a hazard. Carefully remove them. Cut them down yourself or with the help of a landscaping professional if it is a larger tree that requires specialist equipment
- Most deciduous trees will still be showing bare branches, which makes visibility easier. This is an excellent time to prune back tree branches before they start to leaf out again. Go for limbs reaching into the street or in danger of affecting power lines or overhead wiring
- You may want to replenish mulch at the base of trees
Start Cutting Back Stems
This is the ultimate gardening paradox. If you want lush growth you have to be brutal when it comes to pruning back.
- Start cutting back stems for perennial plants or bulbs that will naturally regrow from their roots. Perennials can be pruned back to about 2 inches above the ground
- If you have large ornamental grasses, these should also be cut back to about 20 percent of their full size
- Remove the dead leaves or secondary stems from creeper plants or vines, leaving the main stem intact. Remove any overgrown tendrils/ sections and guide your creeping plant towards the direction you prefer
- You may want to install mini hooks long the wall, gazebo or pergola to facilitate growth
- Trim back hedging or shape your topiary
Prune Your Shrubbery
You should start pruning before the bushes start to bud.
- Prune back secondary stems in shrubbery and rose bushes to make way for new growth
- Cut out any dead leaves or seconds that have dried up in the winter cold
- It is also an optimal time for moving shrubbery to new locations whilst the ground is still bare
Clear Up Loose Dead Leaves
- Now that all the higher up areas are tidied up - remove cuttings and loose dead leaves for depositing in the compost heap
- Be wary of any mould or diseased leaves you may want to separate and dispose of elsewhere so that the diseases are not retained in the soil
Get Rid of the Weeds
- Check your paving, beds, windowboxes and lawn for weeds and set about removing them ideally with a weed killer or home remedies that aren't toxic or harmful to natural pollinators
Rejuvenate your Lawn
- It’s also a good time to rev up the Lawn mower. Check your lawnmower for rust and gasoline refills
- You should also start weeding here too
- Once tidied up - set about feeding your lawn and stocking up with new lawn seed
Clean Out Your Greenhouse
If you have a greenhouse
- Give the panes for broken sections and replace accordingly
- Check the floor for any buildup of water and give it a general clean sweeping out any soil debris.
- Check for pests and nests in here too in case any colonies or mammals have been hibernating here
Repair and Protect Yard Fixtures
- If you have fencing or raised beds and sleepers - this would be a good time to repair any broken sections and seal back with a good oil and varnish or even paint
Power Wash That Patio and Clean the Decking
- Address your patio and decking area. A good Power-wash will help give your that driveway and paving a new lease of life. Do take care of seams or grouting - you may want to use a softer setting here
- Where there are pathways, you want to replace or supplement the gravel or mulch surfaces
Remove Mould And Mildew
- If there is a buildup of mould or mildew on your walls , or paving and patio areas we have a good step-by step guide to help you attack that:
What’s your Garden Spring Clean Tip?
There you have it. A handy, quick checklist of what you should be checking up on as the weather brightens in your backyard and garden. What’s your go to checklist?