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TYLER – After this year’s unusually frigid East Texas winter, warmer weather is finally here and that means it’s time to focus on spring landscaping.  Ring in spring this year with five landscaping tips from Wilhite Landscape for a healthy and beautiful East Texas lawn.

Clean and Prepare Beds.  This year’s winter was harsh on yards and landscaping beds.  To make sure spring landscaping flourishes to its full potential, start with cleaning and preparing the beds.  Remove dead plants and replace as needed while selections are good. Groom winter damage from plants and cut back as needed. Clean up debris and put it in the compost bin for later use. Add a fresh layer of compost to help feed the soil, generally about a one to two-inch layer is good. Do not pile up on the base of plants at the trunk, as this encourages rotting. Give a generous feeding with a good quality organic fertilizer. Top off with one to two inches of mulch. Getting a good start to plant health and recovery is important to a continued healthy garden and landscape.

Sod and Seed. If winter left a few bare spots, reseed or sod the area in early spring to have a full, lush yard come summer. Whether it’s seed or sod, try to match with the current grass type while paying attention to how much sun and water the area will receive throughout the season. For grasses like St. Augustine, Centipede, and Bermuda sod works best, while fescue grass can be easily reseeded. Be sure to fertilize and water regularly.  New sod prefers a moist environment to take hold, so it’s important to water lightly at least once daily for the first two weeks. For recovering a small spot, one foot or less, try placing a one-inch layer of compost on the bare area. This will encourage the grass to run and fill in naturally over the season.

Fertilize.  Lush green grass doesn’t happen without a little help. Early spring is the ideal time to put out a good fertilizer. If using a weed and feed be sure to read and follow label instructions. Some require that the weed killer be applied to a wet lawn and that it sits on the weed for a day before being watered in.  It’s best to fertilize just before a rain, preventing the fertilizer from “burning” the lawn.  If rain isn’t in the forecast, water the lawn after fertilizing whether with installed sprinkler system or a manual sprinkler.
Prune Trees and Shrubs.  Pruning promotes healthy plants and showcases landscaping and property.  Before taking shears to limb, examine each for damaged, diseased or even dead branches.  These will need to be pruned first. Then look at the shape.  Could the tree be “lifted” to better showcase the home and landscaping?  If so, prune some of the lower limbs to raise the undercarriage.  Also consider thinning out dense areas. Prune and shape shrubs to be complementary of surrounding landscaping.  For East Texas favorites, like azaleas, wait to prune until after they finish blooming.

Mow and Maintain. It sounds simple enough, but there is reasoning behind how to mow a lawn. Cutting grass too short can ruin a lawn.  Taller grass – but not too tall – protects the soil, encourages a larger root system, and prevents weeds.  It’s important to not only avoid over mowing, but, when mowing, only trim the top one-third of the grass blade.  Not all grass is created equal.  In fact, different types of grass have different recommended length requirements for the best performance.  Bermuda grass should be one to two inches tall; St. Augustine, two to four inches tall; and fescue two to three and a half inches tall.  Another good tip — leave the clippings rather than bagging.  It’s great for the soil.

Wilhite Landscape offers a complete line of outdoor services for residential and commercial clients, including landscaping, lawn care, water features, patios, drainage systems, retaining walls, walkways, garden and holiday lighting.

For more information, call 903.593.5975 and visit www.wilhitelandscape.com.