Lawn care in Texas is arguably a year-round event, but no one would disagree that now is the time to start putting forth a bit more effort. Your lawn and flower beds look well-managed during the winter and then all of a sudden they are unkempt as if the yard awakened overnight. Weeds and grass are fighting for position. A layer of dead leaves covers your flower beds. Crape myrtles, roses, and other common plants look like the life has been drained out of them. And yet, your front yard is key to good curb appeal. It is one of the first things people notice.
There are many steps you can take to get your yard into shape, but today I am only going to focus on three. These you can tackle this weekend without breaking into too much of a sweat.
- Mow your grass. I know it sounds super simple, but what a change it makes! Talk about transforming your yard in one easy step. Don’t cut as short as your mower will go thinking that you are saving yourself from mowing more often. You are actually setting your lawn up for failure. First, sunlight can get to your soil more easily and awaken dormant weed seeds lying close to the surface. Second, most homeowners in this area have either St. Augustine or Bermuda grass. Know what kind of grass you have. The former grass needs 3 to 4 inches of length to be healthy The latter can tolerate 2 inches length and still be full of life. We want vibrant, green grass carpeting our lawns.
- Rake up leaves. Again, it is not rocket science, but what a difference raking can make. Your yard covered in a layer of brown, dead leaves is not the look we want in the spring. It is the season budding with new life and rebirth after all. Don’t blow them all in your neighbor’s yard; they won’t appreciate that very much. Use an old-fashioned rake. If your yard is huge and you have a garden, you can compost your dead leaves. Most homeowners need to dispose of the leaves and be done. Another practical reason that you want to pick up leaves is to remove a place for snakes to hide. As the temperatures warm, snakes will move and you want to have your yard clear of debris.
- Prune your bushes and plants. Crape myrtles might not have one leaf on them, but they are alive. Rose bushes always look like they have gotten out of hand over the winter. Traditionally, one should prune rose bushes on Valentine’s Day, but we are only a few weeks late. Pruning helps to shape your plants, spur on new growth, and make your trees/bushes more healthy. There are YouTube videos galore on the proper pruning of common plants. This short video is for Crape Myrtles specifically. You probably already have the tools required, but don’t forget gloves. I did and my hands looked like the roses won the battle. You must prune while your plant still thinks it is winter.
There are many other steps to lawn maintenance like fertilization, aeration, etc. To read further on the topic, I recommend “7 of the Most Important Lawn Care Tips for Texas Homeowners” by Jack Moore.
After just a few hours in your yard, you will notice a huge difference as you help your lawn transition between seasons. Enjoy the fruits of your labor as you spring into lawn care this weekend.