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How to Prep Your Yard and Gardens for Spring in Westchester

Local landscape expert Jess Zavaglia shares her tips for getting your yard and gardens ready for the season.

Gardens for spring|
Are your gardens ready for spring? Photo courtesy of Zavaglia Associates

Jess Zavaglia, one part of the husband-wife team behind Zavaglia Associates, shares her tips for preparing to have the lushest landscape you can this season and beyond.

“As spring approaches, take time to reflect on what you would like to accomplish during the season and start with a plan,” says Zavaglia.

landscape expert
Keep reading for tips to get your gardens ready for spring. Photo courtesy of Zavaglia Associates

“Regardless of whether you want to start with some new plantings or maintain what has already been established in your garden, start with the basics and amend your soil — aerate and add nutrients such as organic fertilizer and compost as needed.”

She adds that prep work can and should start in the colder months to set your landscape up for success.

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“Spend the colder months considering your landscape design, which you can start any time, depending on the project schedule,” says Zavaglia. “Keep in mind that planting windows are spring and fall for our zone, so all design should be completed, quoted, and on an installation schedule by no later than the end of March to guarantee a spot on the calendar.”

Prep Timeline:

Late March: Maintenance starts in late March with a thorough spring cleanup or when the snow is pretty much behind us.

April: Provide nutrients to all plants (organic fertilizer and compost) and add mulch to your flower beds. “Avoid over mulching, and never place mulch around [the] root base of trees, shrubs, or perennials, as they need room to breathe and access nutrients,” says Zavaglia. “Our favorite mulch is Sweet Peet.”

May: Tie back daffodil bulbs and cut back tulips as necessary after they have flowered. Go ahead and cut back any herbaceous perennials as needed.

flower landscaping
Courtesy of Zavaglia Associates

For your flower beds, Zavaglia recommends cultivating them, taking a soil test, and amending as needed, and stay on top of weeding and mulching.

For your yard, she suggests giving it a good spring fertilizer, spot seeding any distressed areas as needed, controlling crabgrass, and turning on your irrigation system.

She adds that it is never too early to start prep work. “The more time you give yourself, the more time you have to make thoughtful decisions based on your project goals and your priorities — important considerations that need to be reflected in your overall budget for your outdoor spaces.”

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