Tips to Prepare for Spring

Finally! It’s time to stop hibernating and prepare to start enjoying the outdoors again. Kick off the warm season by tackling some spring cleanup outside your house.

Gutters: Check your gutters. Clogged gutters can cause damage to your home when water doesn’t flow away from the foundation. Use a ladder to get onto the roof, and then remove leaves and twigs with gloved hands and/or a large gutter scoop. Use a hose to flush out the gutters after you’re done cleaning. Greenthumb 50-foot-long hoses are on sale at Longenecker’s this month. With the hose running, you’ll also find any leaks that need to be repaired. If you need to make repairs, scrub the inside of the gutter around the hole with steel wool. With metal snips, cut a patch of metal flashing that is slightly larger than the hole. Use a putty knife to coat the back of the metal patch with asphalt flashing cement or gutter patch and press into place.

Yard Cleanup: Pick up leaves and other debris. Use a rake to collect leaves and debris and use yard refuse bags for disposal. You can also shred or mulch leaves with a mulching mower so that they compost on the lawn and provide added nutrients. Help trees, shrubs and flowers start their bloom. Prune any dead, diseased or out-of-control branches from trees and shrubs. Use a handsaw to cut off branches that are dead, infested with insects or disease, or that have grown too close to power lines and pose a safety threat. Bypass loppers work well for smaller branches and happen to be on sale at Longenecker’s True Value during March. When you see the Forsythia bushes blooming, it’s a reminder that it’s time to prune your rose bushes. Yank out weeds and crabgrass by the roots and maybe use a post-emergent herbicide. These products, such as Scotts® Weed Ex, are used to control weeds in lawns and gardens after they have already emerged from the soil. Typically, these are applied as liquids or granules, either with a pump sprayer or broadcast spreader.

Dethatch and Aerate Lawns: You should dethatch and aerate your lawn after the grass has begun growing for the season—usually after the first or second mow. You’ll know you need to dethatch if clumped, dead grass is more than ½” thick. Use an iron rake or a thatch rake to cut through and remove thatch. For large lawns, consider renting a walk-behind dethatching machine, available to rent at Longeneckers.

Aerating allows for greater movement of water, fertilizer and air in and out of the soil. It also encourages deep root growth. So be sure to aerate before applying fertilizer. For moderately compacted soil in a small to medium area, systematically prick holes in the soil with a coring aerator, or a spading or digging fork. Holes should be 2″ to 3″ apart and 1″ to 2″ deep. If you’re dealing with a large area, there are dethatchers, aerators, and fertilizer spreaders for rent at

Fertilize and Seed Your Lawn: Fertilizing your lawn enriches the soil and creates a hardier, greener lawn. It promotes new growth and healthy roots while healing the grass from damage caused by foot traffic, pets and the elements. Some fertilizers are packaged for certain uses and types of grass. A balanced lawn fertilizer contains equal proportions of nitrogen and potassium. This is indicated by the nutrient ratios on the package. Read fertilizer labels for proper application times, amounts and conditions. Scotts® Annual 4-Step® lawn program, and Scotts® Turf Builder, is on sale during March at Longeneckers True Value, plus you can get a FREE Longenecker’s gift card with your purchase! Broadcast spreaders are available for sale or rent in our store.