Spring is in full swing! We hope you are enjoying beautiful weather, beautiful blooms, and longer days! It’s a wonderful time of year to enjoy the great outdoors. Cookouts with friends, relaxing on your front porch engrossed in your favorite novel, tossing a ball in the backyard with your kids…we’ve all got our favorite spring activities! And of course we enjoy them all even more when our yard is looking its best. Read on for our top seven tasks to tackle to get your yard in tip-top condition so you can fully enjoy it!
May is a great time to plant in almost every part of the country. It’s your last chance before it gets too hot! Roots need time to establish vigorous growth before stress from summer heat sets in. Have you been debating whether to plant a vegetable garden this year? Debate no more, the time has come! Thinking about sprucing up your landscape beds? Plant those annuals now, as fear of frost is gone in most states, and summer annuals thrive with early root development in prepared beds. Maybe you want privacy screening for that new pool before summer’s in full swing? This is the last call for planting before fall!
2) Vole Control
As you're thinking about planting, note that this is breeding season for many burrowing rodents! Those that don’t breed year round breed in late spring/early summer. With more hungry mouths looking for food in the near future, be sure to protect those root balls with Vole King wire mesh baskets, and line those garden beds with our bed liner rolls. Both options come in a variety of sizes, and provide simple, proactive protection for the life of the plant.
As you're looking over your landscape, note that Spring flowering plants (Camellias, Viburnum, Lilac, Rhododendrons, etc.) can now (or as soon as their blooms have all turned brown) be pruned to shape, and help set buds for next year's show. For details on how to prune, check out our April blog post: https://www.voleking.com/blogs/vole-king-news/spring-pruning
4) Clear Out Dead Branches/Plants
By May, most plants have leafed out, or will soon, depending on your climate. Any dead branches, or dead plants, need to be removed, and replacements considered. If the whole plant died, take a minute to figure out what happened before replacing.
- Did it receive the proper amount of sunlight? Consider replacing it with a plant that needs more or less sunlight, depending on the exposure.
- Not enough, or too much water? Consider installing a dripline to regulate watering in a dryer part of your yard, and planting Lily of the Valley, ferns, Pussy Willow, or any other variety of moisture loving plants in wet areas of your yard.
- Is there an issue with the soil? A simple soil test can help determine this.
- Is disease or a pest infestation to blame? Burn it, or dispose of in yard waste trash to prevent spread!
- Did it just fall over dead? If it looks like it was eaten from the roots up, you have a vole or gopher problem! Be sure to install its replacement in a Vole King wire mesh basket to prevent burrowing rodent damage from the start.
Another thing to take into consideration is preventative measures for weeds. If you have a natural area, pull up those young tree seedlings now before they really root in. Have a large area covered in baby oaks? You don't have to spray chemicals to kill them all. Just remove the top 2 leaves using a string trimmer and they will die. All of their energy is spent on the new sprout. Landscape fabric pulled over a garden or landscape bed will work wonders to prevent weeds! It’s also important to apply mulch now, to help prevent weeds, and conserve water. If you choose to spray chemicals, do so early in the morning, or late afternoon, to prevent drift from winds, and evaporation from midday rises in temperature.
This is the time of year when mosquitoes (as soon as temps are consistently 50 degrees or above!), ticks, and other pesky bugs become active! If you plan to be outside a lot, it may be worth investigating treatments for your yard, rather than dousing yourself in bug repellant every time you step outside. Sadly, many of the chemical yard sprays used to kill these insects will also kill important pollinators. Thankfully there are plenty of natural mosquito repellents, ranging from plants and essential oils (think rosemary, lemongrass, peppermint, and garlic), to citronella candles, and sprays for your whole yard. Likewise, ticks are repelled naturally by geranium, catnip, citronella, and lemon eucalyptus essential oils. There are many wonderful, effective, natural products on the market today, and if you choose not to do it yourself, most mosquito control companies offer a natural alternative!
7) Tool Prep
Finally, get your mower, trimmers, and blowers sharpened, tuned up, and ready for summer maintenance around the garden.
What are your favorite spring activities? What are you planning to do this month to make your yard even more enjoyable? We can’t wait to hear from you! Say "hi" on social media…you can find us on FaceBook, Instagram (@vole__king), and YouTube! Be sure to protect all of your new plantings with Vole King wire mesh baskets and rolls! Happy Planting!