Daniel Davidson at Alan Ivey Landscape has some must-do tips for spring:

This is the time of year that most of us are looking forward to the weather beginning to warm back up, and gearing up for the growing season. There are several things you can do to prepare your landscape for the spring flush as I call it.

In February 

1. Begin cutting back monkey grass:

Cutting back your monkey grass will remove last years growth and make room for new growth. This will keep your monkey grass from becoming scraggly looking. The best way to do this is to use a push mower and bag the clippings. If needed, you can follow up with a line trimmer (weed-eater) to catch any areas the mower may have missed.

2. Cut back all ornamental grasses.

In March

This time of the season it all depends on the weather and the temperatures. But you will know when the time is right by that “ahhh, Spring” feeling.

The primary focus for this time of year is mulching landscape beds.

1. Trench your beds:

I like to do a trench cut to the bed edge to allow for a stopping point for the mulch to slide into prior to mulching the bed. How much mulch to apply? I normally apply no more than 1” of mulch to existing beds. Sometimes a simple raking of the existing mulch and applying a sprinkling is all you normally need. Too many people tend to over mulch and you must be careful because I’ve seen where over mulching can smother a plant or hold too much moisture and then you start having fungus problems such as root rot and other problems.

2. Pre-Emergent:

After mulching, I advise applying some type of pre-emergent to the beds. The easiest of products is called Pren which can be bought at just about any store. It’s a granular pre-emergent that I try to apply to the landscape beds at least twice per year. Once in the spring and once in the fall.

3. Slow Release Fertilizer:

Another thing to plan on doing is applying a slow release fertilizer to your plants and beds. Most landscape beds, upon installation, were never properly prepped with the right soil conditioners prior to planting, and for the first several years, the planting will be fine and grow like it should. But as the bed matures, it reaches an age kind of like when we hit 40 and it’s all down hill from there. That’s basically from the lack of nutrients. The plants have pulled all of the original nutrients from the soil. Memphis has some of the hardest soil in our region and, unless you’re a rice farmer, it makes it hard to dig a hole in this clay soil and expect a plant to do well. So, I recommend applying any slow release plant fertilizer to help the plants. Also, plan on applying it again in the fall.

4. Check Irrigation Systems:

Depending on your watering method, I start turning on irrigation systems and inspecting them, making sure they are ready to go when you need them. After I inspect them and make any repairs, I just turn the controller to off. Just watch for a late freeze in the event that you need to shut the backflow preventer off. Normally, it needs to be below freezing for over a 24-hour period to do any damage to your backflows.

By: Daniel – Alan Ivey Landscape