Monday, March 8, 2010

Rejuvinate Your North Shore Home for Spring!

Spring in Chicago’s North Shore is right around the corner as we see temperatures rising and winter’s white blanket slowly
melting away. It’s an exciting time as we begin to take in hints of the fresh air of the coming season.

You may be thinking of all the things you want to do with your North Shore home to give it that rejuvenated look that will carry through the warmer months. One of the best ways to dig into Spring is through prepping for this year’s garden. Even if you’ve never planted a garden before, below are ten easy steps to get you on the right track and your North Shore home will have a refreshed look in no time!

1. Survey the Yard- Make note of tree limbs that should be removed. Rake mulch from beds planted with bulbs before foliage appears, and refresh mulch in other planting areas after soil warms. Check fences, steps, and pathways for disrepair caused by freezing and thawing.

2. Order Tools and Plants- Take note of tools that are missing or broken, and order tools for the new growing season. Choose new plants for the garden and order perennials, trees, and shrubs for spring planting.

3. Get Ready to Mow- Send the mower or leaf blower in for repair if needed. Refill the mower with oil and make sure all parts are in working order. Clear the lawn of winter debris, and look for areas that need reseeding before mowing.

4. Prune Trees and Shrubs- Remove dead, damaged, and diseased branches from woody plants. Prune cold-damaged wood after plants resume spring growth. Prune spring-blooming shrubs and trees after flowering.

5. Take a Soil Test- Check soil pH with a home soil- test kit, taking several samples from different planting areas for an accurate reading. Enrich soil as necessary.

6. Prepare New Beds- Clear the planting area as soon as soil can be worked, removing sod or weeds and debris. Spread a 4-inch layer of compost or well-rotted manure and any amendments over soil, and cultivate it to a depth of 10 to 12 inches with a spading fork.

7. Plant- Plant bare-root trees, shrubs, and perennials such as hostas and daylilies by early spring. Transplant container-grown plants anytime during the growing season except midsummer; be sure to water them thoroughly. Sow seeds of cool-season flowers like sweet peas, poppies, and calendula, and vegetables such as lettuce, parsley, and spinach.

8. Fertilize- Apply balanced fertilizer or other soil amendments recommended by soil-test results around trees and shrubs when new growth appears. Begin fertilizing perennials when active growth resumes.

9. Start a Compost Pile- Begin by collecting plant debris and leaves raked up from the garden. Chop these up first to speed decomposition. Turn regularly. Continue adding to the pile throughout the season for rich, homemade compost next spring.

10. Clean Bird Feeders and Baths- Disinfect the feeders and bird baths by scrubbing with weak bleach solution (1/4 cup bleach: 2 gallons warm water). Rinse and dry before refilling them. Clean birdbaths and feeders regularly throughout the season and change birdbath water once a week. Read the full article.

I hope these tips are helpful as you begin to welcome in spring in the North Shore! It’s a great time of year so be sure to get a jump start on this season. If you have any questions about the Chicago’s North Shore Real Estate market; please let me know! I look forward to talking with you!

Janie Bress

Your North Shore Real Estate Expert

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