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Spring Clean Up
Spring Clean Up

There's nothing like those first few weeks of warm weather after a long, long winter. Winter is tough on us and our landscapes too. Get your yard back in shape with a spring clean up!


Spring is a great time to aerate. Read more about the benefits of aeration here.

Crabgrass pre-emergent can be applied but hold off on fertilizer until May. Check out this link from University of Illinois Extension office for more information


Prune dead or damaged branches from trees and shrubs. Pruning for the health of a tree or shrub by removing dead, diseased or damaged branches can and should be done as soon as you notice it. The correct time to prune for shape depends on the tree or shrub itself. For instance, shaping spring blooming shrubs now may remove all the flower buds before they've had a chance to bloom. Look up your tree or shrub to find out the best time to shape. When in doubt, "Prune after bloom."


Check for heaved plants and press back into ground. Midwest winters are tough and the freeze/thaw cycles can heave plants out of the ground.

Pull back mulch from any plants that were heavily mulched for winter protection.

Cut back grasses and any other perennials still standing down to 2-3". Even evergreen perennials like hellebores and European Ginger look best with a haircut to remove ragged leaves and make room for new growth.

Spring is a great time to divide and transplant many plants.

Remove weeds and apply a pre-emergent like Preen if desired.

Order mulch if needed.

Clean up bed edges with square shovel

Rake up yard debris and dead plant material. (Bonus points for composting!)

Other areas:

Clean decks and hardscapes

Clean out water features

Clean out old nesting material from birdhouses

Hang up hummingbird feeders. (The ruby throated hummingbird starts showing up in Chicago in April!)


Clean pruners frequently during clean-up to avoid transferring overwintering diseases

Bring a tarp to larger garden areas to make it easier to transport trimmings

Try to avoid walking on soggy grass as much as possible to minimize compaction

Whew! That's a lot of work. Need some help? Give us a call at 708-460-5884 and we'll check some items off your list!

Nicole Gear, horticulturalist scott flanagan landscape *****

Written by:
Nicole Gear
Horticulturist and Office Manager
scott flanagan landscape
2011 present

Scott Flanagan Landscape    708.460.5884    sfl@scottflanaganlandscape.com