Spring is On the Way! Is Your Community's Landscaping Ready?
As the gray light of winter lifts into the clear, crisp mornings of Spring, people and plants alike feel revitalized by the promise of warm days ahead. For an HOA community, this means preparing for springtime landscaping with summer blooms not far behind. Cultivating a beautiful neighborhood is all about understanding the seasons and staying ahead of your landscaping checklist. If you want rolling green lawns and blossoming flowerbeds, early Spring is time to get your landscaping in gear.
While every neighborhood is unique, the methods of plant care are similar across continental regions. Let's dive into the steps every community association can take to ensure your neighborhood is green and blossoming as the weather warms up. You can also download our quick guide from our friends over at Yellowstone Landscape to look at the steps and types of grasses ready to make your community beautiful.
Apply Pre-Emergent for Weed Control
Before the grass starts to return from the winter chill, apply pre-emergent to the lawns. This substance discourages the growth of hardy but undesirable crabgrass while your softer broadleaf grass has time to wake up for the spring. Pre-emergent can help reduce your fight against weeds for the rest of the year.
Rake Up Winter Leaves & Turn the Soil
Whether your neighborhood experiences snow or just a slight winter chill, plants tend to drop their leaves and other debris in the winter. As the landscaping comes back to life, prepare the soil for a new life as well. Rake up the winter leaves and twigs and expose the soil to the warm springtime air. Then turn the soil under the trees and in your flower beds to discourage insect life and freshen it for new growth.
Check On the Sprinkler System
Before you begin springtime watering, check your sprinkler system. During the winter, sprinklers and irrigation systems can freeze and take damage. Soaker hoses are notorious for cracking and breaking down during the winter months and, if left unchecked, can cost a lot of money in lost water. It's always a good idea to inspect any system before turning it back on after a season of dormancy. So before you fire up the sprinklers to water your fresh lawns and new flower plantings, make sure it's in top condition.
Prune Dead Branches from Trees & Bushes
Pruning is an essential trick for pro-gardeners and landscaped grounds. During the winter, trees and shrubs dry out, and some of the far-most twigs will die. In cold or arid winters, this retraction can go as far as the ground. Pro gardeners know how to trim trees and shrubs to the WIC - the springy green center that tells you where the tree is still alive. You can generally pull a bit on the branch to see if it still has any "spring" in it - the more resistance, the more likely it is to be still alive. Start from the outside in and know that you can always go back deeper if you need.
Lay Fertilizer on Lawns and Flowerbeds
Choose the right fertilizer for your region and the type of plants your community grows and spread it over the grounds. Fertilizer generally gets used for lawns, but different types can be used in flowerbeds and even vegetable gardens if that's your thing. You likely want to choose a mix that discourages weeds and encourages the growth of broadleaf grasses. If you are starting to notice, any new pest problems check to ensure that your fertilizer doesn't encourage them.
Replant Flowerbeds with New Annuals
There are two types of flowers you can grow in your flowerbeds. Perennials bloom for one season while annuals bloom for longer but need replanting manually. For long-season blossoms, plant your flowerbeds with new annuals each spring. Begonias and chrysanthemums are popular choices for flowerbeds, but you should also investigate your community's local climate's best annuals. If you aren't much of a gardener, there are plenty of plants that are native to your area. As Xeriscaping becomes more popular, you can usually find a few options and alternatives that will grow with very little assistance.
Lay Down Fresh Mulch
With all of the leaves raked, your soil tilled, and your fresh flowers planted, it's time to put down new mulch. Mulch is there to protect the soil and your plants' roots from sunshine, insects, and being disturbed by adventurous residents. Pick a rich natural mulch that compliments your local landscaping color scheme.
Perform the Year's First Mowing
Likely, you haven't had to mow much this winter unless you live in some warmer climates where you don't get a break from year-round mowing. When the grass begins to grow with enthusiasm, schedule the year's first mow. The first mow back can be a little nerve-wracking as you never know where small fallen branches or that squirrel stash of acorns may be, so start slow and be careful. Each type of grass best clipped at the right length, so set your mower blade height and the time your mowing accordingly.
Be Prepared for Surprise Snows!
Finally, be prepared for a little surprise weather. If you are in North Texas, you know last month brought about a shocking amount of single-digit weather! Spring storms are familiar in most places, and many regions have a little surprise snow in the spring. Protect your freshly budding trees and new plantings from high winds. If the snow falls, be prepared to shake the snow off your trees and shrubs. Freshly budding trees are more vulnerable than trees wearing their winter armor.
Is your community landscaping ready for spring? HOA community management is the key to year-long planning for beautiful grounds and happy residents. Contact us today for more useful community management insights!