Ensuring that a home is show-ready at all times can be a daunting task. However, keeping the lawn and landscape in tip-top shape can be even more challenging. A home that is appealing, both inside and out, will be more likely to sell, and at a higher price. While homeowners are ultimately responsible for keeping up on their landscaping to-do list when a home is on the market, there are several tasks that can be performed to make sure a lawn makes a smooth transition between a cold winter and a green spring.
During the warming months of early spring, the lawn is just beginning to produce new growth. As the sun warms the cold soil, it’s important to remember that plants are in dire need of nutrients to assist this new growth. As soon as the snow has cleared and the lawn has begun to thaw, apply fertilizer.
This will help to eliminate the brown or yellow spots produced by the freeze or thaw cycle, or any dead spots caused prior to the winter freeze. Fertilizer will also help to reduce the amount of weeds and crabgrass that appear with the new growth.
2) Apply weed killer
This is the perfect time to apply any weed killers. Pre-emergents block weeds and help prevent crabgrass from seeding or reseeding itself into the lawn. Some pre-emergent solutions also contain fertilizers, allowing you to save yourself a step. Applying a pre-emergent solution won’t necessarily kill or prevent all weeds, but it will drastically reduce their occurrence.
3) Clear debris
Make sure the lawn is free of any leaves, branches, or other additional debris. It’s easy to allow these items to take up residence when they’re covered by several feet of snow, but make sure they’re cleared away so that sunlight is better able to reach your lawn, and so that you don’t accidentally pick them up with a mower or other equipment. These items can be raked and chopped or bagged, or placed in a compost pile to break down naturally
4) Service any equipment
Perform any necessary maintenance on your equipment now, before it’s time to use it. Don’t wait until problems appear to service a lawn mower, weed wacker, or other equipment. Have the blades sharpened by a dealer, or learn how to do it yourself to save time and money.
5) Aerate Soil
Many people aerate in the fall, but this can also be done in the spring if you have exceptionally compacted soils. Soils frequently become compacted from excessive foot or vehicle traffic on the lawn, actions which you should try to avoid at all costs during the winter months. Lawn aerators use hollow tines to remove plugs of soil from a lawn. This allows roots to breathe and develop more fully
6) Remove snow mold
While snow mold isn’t terribly common for many homeowners, it does sometimes affect landscapes that have seen an excessive, lengthy period of snow cover throughout the winter months. Areas with regular freeze-thaw cycles typically don’t have snow mold, because there was time for the soil to be exposed to the air between snowfalls.
Snow mold is technically a fungus, and looks like dead patches of grass. It kills the leaves of plants but usually doesn’t kill the plant itself, so it can be removed by using a light leaf rake to fluff it up. This helps to improve circulation and remove the fungus.
7) Seed patchy spots
Seed or overseed into any areas of the lawn that are looking a little bare or unhealthy. It’s a good idea to save a bit of grass seed between seasons, but if you didn’t, you can often find local blends at garden centers. They tend to carry the grass types that grow well in Cleveland and the surrounding area that thrive in that hardiness zone, giving you a better bet at matching the plants that are already growing.
Over the winter lawns will often develop something called “snow mold” which is just matted down dead looking patches of grass. Snow mold can kill the leaves, but 99 times out of 100 it does not kill the plant itself. If you use a light leaf rake to fluff it up once it dries out to improve air circulation, the plants should turn green again as they start to grow. If you want, throw a little grass seed down to jumpstart the process after raking.
8) Plan your first mowing
Mowing in the spring doesn’t have to be extensive, but you should plan to mow your lawn early in the season to help remove dead tops and jumpstart growth. Usually you can get by with mowing about two or so inches, but as soon as the grass begins to grow, another mowing should be performed at about four inches.
Spring lawn care doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With a little bit of planning and forward thinking, you can stay on top of these landscaping tasks to allow you to better enjoy the warming weather to come.
This article was originally written by Timothy Johnson with Lawn Starter. Timothy is a green living and landscaping expert. He can often be found hiking with his two dogs or in the lavish garden he curates in his backyard.
Without question, Cleveland is radiating incredible growth, excitement, and promise for the future. Most life-long Clevelanders are experiencing first-hand a rebirth, a true renaissance of the city, and this reawakening doesn’t stop at the borders of downtown. Cleveland’s magic extends into its lively, quirky neighborhoods that each offer their one-of-a-kind personalities.
If you’re planting roots in the CLE, here are five of the best neighborhoods to consider calling home.
1. Rocky River
Great for families and outdoor activity lovers.
A pinnacle of Cleveland neighborhoods, Rocky River has it all: beautiful homes, quiet, safe streets, highly rated schools, and a short drive to downtown.
What makes the Rocky River neighborhood so desirable?
- This established neighborhood is an oldy but oh-so-goodie that will never go out of style. Rocky River – shortened to River by locals – lives on the shores of Lake Erie and is more old money than new. Rocky River has stunning Victorian and Colonial-style homes – some with the most beautiful lake views you will ever see.
- This neighborhood has excellent rated schools. Rocky River High School: 10, Rocky River Middle School: 9, Kensington Intermediate Elementary School: 9. In fact, Rocky River Schools are ranked second in the whole state of Ohio.
- This neighborhood has easy access to the Cleveland Metroparks and Emerald Necklace Marina – an outdoor lovers delight. Residents and Cleveland locals flock to the parks for boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, biking, hiking, fishing, and much more.
- This neighborhood has upscale salons, shops, restaurants, and bars that make you feel extra special on a warm summer evening (or anytime, really).
Great for millennials, singles, artists, and entrepreneurs.
Riding the wave that is the Cleveland resurgence, the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood is on the rise and attracting the likes of eager, ambitious millennials, creatives, and start-ups.
What makes the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood so desirable?
- This neighborhood is minutes from downtown and Lake Erie. Edgewater Park and Beach is built into this community.
- This neighborhood is home to EcoVillage – a group of newly constructed green homes that work to replace ‘consumption and waste with preservation and regeneration.’
- For those who crave a house that has more charm than is eco-friendly, this neighborhood has what you’re looking for, too, with turn-of-the-century homes that make for modest, low-cost fixer uppers.
- This neighborhood completed a $100 million development project that turned twenty vacant industrial buildings into a beautiful residential development called Battery Park.
- This neighborhood gives off an urban vibe dedicated to sustainability.
- This neighborhood has great bars, restaurants, shops, and art galleries.
3. Ohio City
Great for millennials, young professionals, singles, and artists.
Living west of Downtown Cleveland, Ohio City is a hip, always-happening urban oasis that is concentrated on the well-known West 25th Street. Jam-packed with all the trendy dining and entertainment spots one could want, Ohio City is great for art, business, living, and gathering.
What makes the Ohio City neighborhood so desirable?
- This neighborhood is home to the historic West Side Market. Opening its doors now for over 100 years, the Market consists of 100 locally owned and independent businesses that sell just about everything, such as fresh meats, cheeses, seafood, fruits, veggies, baked goods, spices, flowers, and more.
- This neighborhood offers a mix of historic homes and modern apartment complexes, both of which have proven to be perfect for the vast majority of people who call this neighborhood home.
- This neighborhood has one of the best and longest-standing breweries in Ohio. Great Lakes Brewing Company is Ohio’s first brewpub and microbrewery and has been producing award-winning beer since 1988.
- This neighborhood knows how to do night life with places like Town Hall, Market Garden Brewery, Speakeasy (which is in the basement of Bar Cento), and the list could go on and on. Great bars, great tunes, great vibes.
4. Bay Village
Great for families, parklike setting-lovers, suburban dwellers.
Located on the west side of Cleveland, Bay Village is 15 miles west of downtown but is a highly-coveted suburb of the city with an average livability score of ‘A.’ Great for both young and growing families, Bay Village has a mix of small bungalows and large, charismatic homes.
What makes the Bay Village neighborhood so desirable?
- This neighborhood is a safe, family-friendly suburb receiving an A+ in crime rates from AreaVibes.
- This neighborhood has a superior school district, with Bay Village High School: 9, Bay Village Middle School: 8, Westerly Elementary School: 10.
- This neighborhood is home to one of Lake Erie’s most esteemed lakefront parks in Huntington Beach and Reservation and a pretty impressive public swimming pool, complete with slides, diving boards, splash and spray center, and a toddler area.
- This neighborhood is a tight-knit community where residents foster a strong sense of belonging and have a shared commitment to keeping Bay great.
Great for families, singles, millennials, and young professionals.
Home to the densest population between New York City and Chicago, Lakewood is a large neighborhood that continues to grow. Lakewood boasts a large homeowner and renter population consisting of families, singles, millennials, and young professionals just starting out in this exciting and opportunity-filled city.
What makes the Lakewood neighborhood so desirable?
- This neighborhood is located just outside downtown. Lakewood skips city congestion and is an ideal place to rent or own a home with yards, parks, and sidewalks.
- This neighborhood has good schools. Lakewood High School just completed a major remodeling and reconstruction project that gives students more space and new classrooms.
- This neighborhood is a growing community that offers charming homes built in the early 1900’s. They’re large, reasonably priced, and perfect projects for people who love character and minimal fixer-upper tasks.
- This neighborhood delivers great restaurants, with some even appearing on the Food Network – like the Proper Pig, Melt Bar & Grill, and Angelo’s Pizza.
Cleveland has a multitude of other great neighborhoods – both on the East side and West side of the city. Be sure and check out Tremont, Shaker Heights, Kamm’s Corner, Old Brooklyn and University Circle to see if any of those fit your fancy.