You don’t have to feel rushed in spring to get all your chores done in two or three weeks. Take leisure to enjoy spring because there are often overlooked opportunities later in the season for planting, growing and landscape upkeep.

In spring there are projects that really have to be done early, like transplanting trees, shrubs and some perennials while they are dormant. Cutting off the old growth of prairie grasses and ornamental grasses increases sun exposure to renew these plants. Applying mulch to plants is often easier prior to new growth appearing. And removing weeds as soon as possible can reduce work later in the year. However, there are many jobs that can await your busy schedule and still deliver exceptional results.

Seeding of lawns, grasses and prairies is often easier in the Fall when moisture and temperature conditions are better for germination and overwintering. A few days of hot spring weather, with no rain, can easily kill a newly seeded lawn and other grasses/plants started from seed. If you think that you don’t have time to sprinkle these areas multiple times a day during the germination phase; plan to do this in the Fall when watering is not as critical.

Most landscape plants grown in containers can be planted anytime of year that the ground is not frozen. So you don’t need to rush your spring yard remodeling. Another reason to delay planting is that most plants sold at garden centers have been grown indoors or in warmer climates and shipped up north. Placing these tender plants too early in your garden can risk damage and death by late frosts.

Landscape clean-up doesn’t need to happen all at once. The scattering of leaves on your lawn can be mulched up with the first mowing; returned to the soil as much needed natural fertilizer and organic material with no additional effort. Trimming off last year’s growth in perennial beds and leaving the chopped up stems in place reduces work and provides a natural mulch as green up occurs. You can top dress with a small amount of wood chips or other mulch if you like.

Use a light hand on natural areasĀ even if they look a little messy in spring – nature has a plan! Wooded areas, fields and conservation areas are critical for spring nesting birds, amphibians and beneficial insects. Removing leaves, branches and other downed woody material diminishes the resources various species need to survive. For instance a blanket of pine needles or leaves left in place keeps trees and other plants healthy, preserves moisture and reduces runoff. These areas can look beautiful with little or no work involved and create abundance for the community.

A sustainable landscape produces benefits to you and the environment. Understanding how you can leverage natural processes and the right tempo for tasks is the key to success. Integrating your lifestyle into this process puts you in control to achieve the rewards for your work. So, pace yourself and enjoy as spring blossoms before you!

Before: Perennial plants can be used as instant mulch and nutrients when cut back and left in place during Spring or Fall clean-up.

After: A decrepit string trimmer or even a mulching mower makes quick work of renewing a perennial planting bed in the Spring.