It’s time for the spring grassroots of yard work

With spring comes yard work. It can become overwhelming unless work is planned, limited and prioritized.



With spring comes yard work. It can become overwhelming unless work is planned, limited and prioritized.

Spring is a busy time in the yard. Make a list of what tasks need to be done in the next month. A separate list should be made that includes major projects.

Make a gardening calendar and block off time to complete activities. Know that all gardening activities might need to be moved to another time depending on the weather.

Early spring activities can be broken down into lawn, perennials, trees and shrubs, vegetable gardens and pots. Decide which of theses tasks are important. Remove or cross out the ones that are not.

Lawn chores include: raking or dethatching, aerating, fertilizing and occasionally topdressing. When time is short and money is available hire professionals that will get the lawn ready for the next season.

The first task in a perennial bed is to remove all the old tops if it wasn’t done in the fall. Watch the plants as they emerge this spring. If the centre of the plant has dies, dig it out and replant the healthy, living portions. Plants that have become too large need to be split. Excess plants can be planted elsewhere or given away.

Be careful when digging as some plants take longer to emerge in the spring than others. Give plants until mid June before deciding if they are dead. Some perennials will last for years while others are short lived.

Shrubs and trees are usually low maintenance but need to be pruned regularly to ensure they have an attractive shape and are healthy. Always remove any deadwood as it appears. Keep the area around the base of the plant free of weeds. Mulch works well but make sure that it is not touching the truck or branches. Mulch prevents weeds from growing. It does not eliminate weeds. Remove weeds from mulch as they appear before they become established.

Annuals and vegetable gardens take time. To achieve good results the soil in their bed must be soft and pliable. Usually this requires digging or cultivating the soil.

Once the bed is ready either seeds or bedding plants must be planted. Through out the summer these beds will need to be watered and weeded. Annuals will give the yard colour from the time they are planted until a killer frost. Vegetables always taste better then they are picked fresh from the garden.

Pots and hanging baskets make wonderful additions to they yard but one has to be committed to their maintenance for them to look good. Plants in containers are reliant on water and fertilizer from an artificial source — you. Rarely does the rain provide enough moisture to sustain a pot even in years where one feels that it rains every day. When pots are part of the landscape plan to water them every day.

Once the basic needs of the garden are met look at the wish list of major projects. If the money is there, hire out all the items on the list and have it all completed with in a season. When that is not a possibility choose one activity from the list that is timely and affordable. An example is putting in a play area when the children are little as opposed to adding a rose garden.

Doing one major project at a time minimizes the disruptions and feeling of unrest within the yard. Using a calendar to plan puts tasks into prospective. If it is too busy some activities can be eliminated. A yard, like all parts of the home should be a place to relax and escape from outside pressured.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist that lives near Rocky Mountain House. She can be reached at or

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Erika Fetterly, owner of EFP Studios, recently launched the Let Them Have A Voice campaign. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta photographer’s campaign aims to give youths a voice

An Innisfail photographer is giving a platform to young central Albertans so… Continue reading

Chopped Canada-winning chef Pete Sok is trying to focus on the future as he reopens Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge in the Holiday Inn on Gasoline Alley during the pandemic. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer’s celebrity chef looks past the pandemic with new restaurant opportunity

Pete Sok is reopening Boulevard Restaurant — and betting on the future

The Red Deer Rebels hosted the Medicine Hat Tigers in the first game of the shortened 2020-21 season on Friday. The two teams faced off again in Medicine Hat Saturday (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Red Deer Rebels fall to Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday

Tigers 7 Rebels 2 The Red Deer Rebels have lost two straight… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is condemning alleged vandalism at the… Continue reading

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Machin waits to appear at the Standing Committee on Finance on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Executives who engage in so-called "vaccine tourism" show both an ethical disregard for those less fortunate and a surprising lack of business acumen, experts argue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine tourism is both unethical and bad for business, experts say

Executives who engage in so-called “vaccine tourism” show both an ethical disregard… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Jesse Puljujarvi (13) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Justin Holl (3) battle in front as goalie Jack Campbell (36) makes the save during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, February 27, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
No Matthews, no problem: Minus NHL goal leader, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 4-0

Leafs 4 Oilers 0 EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs knew even with… Continue reading

Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Pablo Rodriguez rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Gummed-up bills in House of Commons: harbinger of a federal election?

OTTAWA — All federal party leaders maintain they don’t want an election… Continue reading

The Pornhub website is shown on a computer screen in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Pornhub policies reveal legal gaps and lack of enforcement around exploitive videos

OTTAWA — Serena Fleites was in seventh grade when a sexually explicit… Continue reading

Sean Hoskin stands on a neighbourhood street in Halifax on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Hoskin was diagnosed with COVID-19 almost a year ago with symptoms that still persist. Some provinces have established programs to deal with long-term sufferers but Atlantic Canada, with relatively low numbers of patients, has yet to provide a resource to assist them. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
On East Coast, exhausted COVID-19 ‘long haulers’ hope specialized clinics will emerge

HALIFAX — On evenings when Sean Hoskin collapses into bed, heart pounding… Continue reading

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) stands in his crease as Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88), left to right, defenceman Rasmus Andersson (4), Matthew Tkachuk (19), Mikael Backlund (11) and Mark Giordano (5) celebrate a goal during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Calgary Flames beat Ottawa 6-3 to end Senators’ three-game win streak

Flames 6 Senators 3 OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

Most Read