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How to do Spring Cleanup in Your Yard like a Pro.

  1. Prepare tools
  2. Start in the beds
  3. Finish with the lawn
  4. Complete your vision


Prepare your tools.  Sharpen everything with an edge (clippers, edgers, shovels) and tighten or screw in handles.

Spring Cleanup Tool Checklist

  • Fan rake
  • Spade or half-moon edger – sharpen the edge)
  • Weed digger
  • Hand clippers – by pass (sharpen the blades)
  • Tarp or wheelbarrow – something that is easily movable that you will use to collect the debris yore move from the yard
  • Compost bags (or whatever your municipality requires for yard waste)
  • Optional (depending on your site)
    • Broom
    • Flat shovel
    • Toppers
    • Pole pruner


  • Start in the beds.
  • Rake out any dead vegetation and clip back anything you missed in the fall.
  •  If you see broken branches, now is the time to snip off winter damage.
  • Check what survived and ease up mulch enough to check out how your bulbs and perennials are coming.
  • Flip the mulch back from the edge of the bed and re-edge creating or maintaining a nice sweeping cure about 4 – 6 “ deep.
  • Shake out the edge, keeping the soil and removing the grass.
  • Then rake the mulch back to the new edge, adding new mulch as needed
  • .Remove any weeds or grass you can.
  • Consider lifting perennials that may be have a lot of grass growing within it to separate it out now before things really get growing.
  • Pruning of some shrubs is recommended at this time.
  • Plants like Hydrangea, and spireas other than Bridal Wreath are best pruned now.  Also consider pruning small trees and shrubs that make be more difficult or impossible to prune well, when they are in leaf.
  • Obviously avoid cutting anything on a maple unless it is safety related.
  • Plants that flower on last years wood like weigelia and crab apple can be pruned if needed, understanding that you will have fewer blooms this season.t


  • Pick up any yard debris – branches, dead perennials, leaves and dead grass.
  • Basically rake up anything organic and send it for compost.
  • Follow whatever instructions your municipality has given you for disposing of organic yard waste.
  • Use a fan rake to lightly rake up the lawn, removing dead grass and any leaves or other debris.
  • Most of it is compostable so separate out what isn’t and put it in the correct waste stream.
  • You can deal with bare patches now.
  • Rough up or loosen the soil and re-seed.
  • There are commercial lawn repair kits that have soil, seed and fertilizer combined.  It isn’t necessary but it is efficient.List Element

Options to Consider:

When should you aerate and dethatch your lawn?  How to tell if you need aeration and dethatching

  • If you have an inch or more of dead grass etc around the bottom of your grass plants your lawn would benefit from dethatching to allow water, nutrients and air to reach the plant roots.  Aeration takes core soil plugs out of the lawn also allowing better resource exchange.
  • Typically you would aerate and then dethatch as the dethatcher or power rake will break up the soil cores.  Then a light raking will complete your spring cleanup.

How to Deal with Weed Problems Organically

Apply a light coating of corn gluten meal to your lawn as a pre-emergent.  It controls seed germination so don’t over seed or get it on areas you are trying to seed.  It won’t stop germinated seeds or plants from growing

Landscaping Smiths Falls

Spring is a great time to be out in the garden so enjoy being outside in the sun and get those muscles active.  Being in nature has many health benefits like raising mood and lowering blood pressure.  Just take it in short manageable bites.  You can do small sections rather than tackle it all at once.

Related Posts

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DIY Landscape Design

Tips for Getting Kids in the Garden

Start Planning Your Garden Now

About the author 


Serial entrepreneur and longtime practitioner of sustainable landscapes and sustainable living. An international teacher, speaker and workshop holder. Author of forthcoming book, How to be Happy. Practicing what she preaches in Kilmarnock, Ontario, and Leesburg, Florida

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