How Soon is Too Soon for Spring Yard Clean-up?
With or without a green thumb, most of us are itching to get into the yard to clean up and prep flower beds for this year’s bounty. But wait! Working in the garden too soon can do more harm than good. Gardening in Canada can be a challenge. The cold climate and short growing season impact everything. So, while the sun may be shining warm and bright, here are a few reasons why you should temper that excitement with a little patience.
- Temperatures at night can still dip below freezing, which is deadly to some plants. Be flexible and check the weather forecast on a regular basis. Below is a list of the last frost dates in cities across Canada, this spring use this as a planting guide for your yard.
- Some horticulturists warn against walking on your lawn in the spring while the ground is wet and super spongy. Studies show that it can make your lawn lumpy and uneven, as well as stop the new growth of your grass. Be gentle, the grass is just waking up.
- Raking your grass too early is also a concern as it can pull up protective thatch, a tightly intermingled layer of living and dead stems, leaves, and roots, that help increase the resilience of your turf. It may also uproot new tendrils of grass, which can lead to your lawn looking patchy later in the year.
- Gardening too early in the season can also disrupt lots of beneficial insects that have sought shelter during the winter in hollow plant stems and fallen leaves. You want most of these insects in your garden, think pollinators like bees and butterflies, or pest-munching predators like spiders and hoverflies.
- Already forgotten all of the above? Just remember this: wait until it has been above zero at night for at least a couple of weeks before starting your spring clean-up.
Last frost dates (estimated) by region:
- St. John’s – June 2
- Halifax – May 6
- Montreal – May 3
- Toronto – May 9
- Winnipeg – May 25
- Regina – May 21
- Calgary – May 23
- Yellowknife – May 27
- Whitehorse – June 11
- Vancouver – March 28
- Victoria – March 21
Photo by Guillaume de Germain on Unsplash