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With a little organization, any complicated task becomes clearer and easier. Take landscaping, for example. When making a to-do list of all the tasks needed to keep your yard and garden in good shape, it can be a little overwhelming. We’ve put together this handy landscaping calendar to help you easily stay on track all year round.
Seasonal landscaping overview
Each season is focused on a different goal, with one-off tasks that can be easy to forget or put off until it’s too late. Complete these items on time and then you can forget about them for another year.
In cold climates, your landscaping can be covered with snow and ice most of the winter. So while you probably won’t be working outdoors a lot, now is a great time to prepare for the year ahead. Take this time to repair or replace worn out tools, finalize plans and order and materials needed for larger projects, like new garden beds, walkways, or a new storage shed.
After a sedentary winter, spring often begins with a flurry of activity. It’s time to clean up leftover fall and winter garden debris and get ready for the new growing season. Thoroughly prune overgrown hedges to recover the views. Prepare garden beds. Plant your vegetable garden and some annual flowers for summer color.
In the summer, your annual vegetables and flowers should be well established. If you’ve pruned the hedges well at the end of winter, you should only have to cut a branch here and there to keep them looking good. Spend this season focusing on maintenance: weeding, watering, mowing and composting. Invite friends over for barbecue and garden games and show off your hard work. After harvesting the first vegetables, plant more for a fall harvest.
Prepare your landscape for some much needed nourishing dormancy. Fall is the time to plant new trees and shrubs and over-seeded cool-season grasses. Mulch or clean up dead leaves. Prepare cold protections like tree wraps, frost blankets, row covers or bells, so they’re ready to install when you need them. Prepare your winter gear.
Monthly landscaping calendar
Use this landscape maintenance schedule as a guide to plan your monthly maintenance. The exact timing will not be appropriate for all parts of the country. Move one of the tasks a month earlier or later to adapt it to the growing conditions of your climate and landscape.
- Sketch out new garden beds and other outdoor projects for the coming year. Create supply lists and locate sources.
- Order seeds and seed starter supplies.
- Clean and sharpen all garden tools. Maintenance of motors on electrical equipment.
- Prune trees and shrubs to remove dead, diseased, or damaged branches and to create a strong branch structure in young trees. Do not aggressively prune spring flowering trees and shrubs yet.
- Shred or shred the pruned material and start a new compost pile.
- Start the seeds indoors so that the hardy flowers and vegetables are planted in the spring.
- Prepare houseplants for moving outdoors.
- Thoroughly prune the hedges before new growth appears.
- Cut back ornamental grasses and old perennials before new growth begins to appear. Compost the debris.
- Prepare flower beds for vegetables, herbs and flowers. Apply a one to three inch layer of compost and work it into the top three inches of the soil.
- Plant cool-season vegetable and flower seedlings a few weeks before the last frost date in your area.
- Apply a weed killer to established lawns that will not be seeded.
- Remove any dead leaves that may have collected in various pockets in the landscape. Shred them and add them to the compost heap.
- Mow the lawn for the first time. Warm season grasses should be mowed one step lower than normal and clippings bagged to remove dead foliage. In areas with severe winters, rake the lawn after the snow melts, then mow.
- Fertilize trees, shrubs, vines, and perennials after foliage emerges.
- As soon as new growth appears, divide and plant perennials that bloom from midsummer to fall, such as daylilies, black-eyed Susans, sedums, and asters.
- Repair bare areas of the lawn with grass seed or sod.
- Begin hardening warm-season plants that are indoors by gradually exposing them to outdoor conditions. First in a shady spot for only an hour or two, then finally working them to their final location in the garden.
- Plant warm-season annuals, vegetables and bulbs in the garden once all danger of frost has passed.
- Prune spring-flowering shrubs like azaleas, forsythias, and lilacs as needed, immediately after flowering ends.
- Clean water features like fountains, ponds and water gardens.
- Plant new hot-season lawns.
- Check the growth of climbing plants. Tie them to their stakes, trellis or other supports as needed.
- Mulch garden and landscape beds as needed to maintain an even two to three inch layer.
- Watch out for damage from insects and disease. Apply preventative treatments to avoid recurring problems.
- Feed container gardens and flower beds weekly throughout the season with a water soluble fertilizer to keep them looking their best.
- Inspect weekly to find and remove weeds before they have a chance to gain the upper hand.
- If it hasn’t rained, turn on the sprinklers. Lawns, gardens, and landscaping plants perform best when they receive an inch of water per week from combined rainfall and irrigation.
- Follow preventive maintenance. Beware of pests and diseases all over the landscape. Pull up weeds as they appear. If you must spray for insect or plant disease control, avoid doing it during the hottest part of the day to reduce the risk of damaging the foliage.
- Prune summer flowering trees and shrubs as needed after they have finished flowering.
- Trim the hedges lightly one last time, if necessary.
- Divide and replant perennials that bloom in spring and early summer when they have finished blooming.
- Remove faded flowers from annuals to promote continued flowering.
- After harvesting the early crops, plant more for a fall harvest.
- Prepare houseplants to move indoors. Prune or repot them as needed. Treat insects if necessary.
- Overseed or plant new lawns in the cool season.
- Remove summer annuals and replace them with cool-season varieties.
- Bring houseplants indoors before the freezing weather arrives.
- Plant trees, shrubs and vines.
- Plant spring-flowering bulbs.
- Continue to water regularly, as needed, until the landscape becomes dormant.
- Continue to mow the lawn as needed. When the leaves start to fall, use the mower to chop them into the lawn.
- Collect and compost dead leaves when there are too many to mow in the lawn.
- Clean gutters and downspouts.
- Mulch garden and landscape beds as needed to protect roots and keep the yard looking fresh.
- Clean and store garden tools and decor for the winter.
- Prepare snow and ice removal equipment. Start the electrical equipment to make sure it is in good working order. Purchase plant-friendly melting ice for the driveway and driveways.
- Clean and repair the lawn mower before storing it for the winter. Pressure wash the deck. Apply paint to scratches and bare metal. Change the oil and filters. Add stabilized fuel. Lubricate the bearings. Sharpen the blades. Remove the battery and place it on a trickle charger.
- Clean and store the batteries of wireless electrical equipment in an air-conditioned area. Lithium-ion batteries should be stored with a 50% charge. Nickel-based batteries can be stored in any state of charge.