By Justin Bayer, Caretaker Landscape and Tree Management
Spring is officially upon us, and that means it is time to get your landscape ready for the growing season and cleaned up from the fall and winter. April is arguably the most important time of the year for landscape in Colorado, and that is because there are many steps that need to be taken in order to set your community up for success.
- When to start up the irrigation system is often a point of contention between landscape contractors, community managers, and HOA boards. The temperamental weather in Colorado can make knowing when to fire up the system a bit confusing; March can be dry for weeks, leading residents to want to get the system up and watering, when out of nowhere a large storm can come through and freeze all of the lines, potentially causing damage to the system.
- In order to avoid wasting water and money, we suggest aiming to turn on your irrigation system between April 15th and May 1st. Even though the weather has been warmer than usual this winter, March and April have the tendency to be wetter months, which means you can save on your water bill by holding out for a bit longer before starting up your system.
- As you gear up your irrigation system and start to fine tune it for spring and summer, make sure to inspect your system thoroughly. You will want to make sure all of your pop-up spray heads and rotors are working optimally (covering the right area and not clogged) and that your drip emitters are working properly on your trees and shrubs. Emitters and spray heads have a tendency to get clogged up during the winter, and if left unresolved, can lead to major problems down the road. Along with doing a thorough check during the start-up process, your landscape contractor should be checking your irrigation system on a consistent basis during the course of the season to catch any potential problems early. The sooner you notice an irregularity, the quicker you can get it resolved through your landscape maintenance team.
- If you are looking for the healthiest turf possible, you should plan to utilize aeration early in the growing season. Aeration stimulates root growth by helping the turf soak in more water, air, and fertilizer. Make sure to know where your sprinkler heads and rotors are if you decide to aerate, as this will help you avoid any potential damage to your system.
- Fertilization is a common practice to get your turf off to a full-bodied, healthy start, and to keep it that way by applying more fertilizer during the summer. It is especially effective when combined with aeration. Fertilizer can be done once per year, three times per year (recommended), or even up to five times or more per year if your community is aiming for that “golf course” look.
- Make sure to rake and remove all winter debris from your lawn to get your lawn off to a great start. During the summer, after the turf has gotten healthy and full, it can be beneficial to mow over any plant debris on your lawn and allow it to be mulched into the turf.
- After a dormant fall and winter for your landscape, you’ll want to start it off right by removing all weeds located in your lawn, planting beds, and around your shrubs and ornamental grasses. Not only do weeds take resources from your plants, they take away from the relaxing aesthetic of a well maintained landscape.
- March and April (depending on the weather) is the best time to utilize pre-emergent weed control methods on your landscape. Both turf and bed areas should be treated with an herbicide that is applied to the surface. Water (rain, snow, irrigation, hand watering, etc.) will push the pre-emergent down into the areas where weed seeds lay dormant until they begin germination. The pre-emergent ensures that the seeds are killed before they are able to grow and sprout out from the turf or the bed areas.
Getting the proper start to your landscape maintenance is absolutely vital, and by following the tips and advice above you can ensure that your community will look healthy, green, and gorgeous all spring and summer!
Caretaker Landscape and Tree Management is a privately owned and operated company with locations in both Colorado and Arizona. Caretaker has been in business for over 30 years, and have built their reputation on customer service, exemplary communication, and through utilization of cutting-edge technology.