Spring clean-up is one of the top three important services to perform on your lawn. It is important to know what is involved in a spring cleanup, ways to increase efficiency, and things that you should never do.
What is a Spring Clean-up?
First, let's talk about spring clean-ups for a minute. What are they? In general, a spring clean-up involves removing debris from the surface of the lawn. Debris may include leaves, sticks, and anything else that is laying on the lawn blocking the sun from reaching the soil. As I said, this is just the most basic part of a spring clean-up. Most professional lawn care companies offer additional services to go along with a spring clean-up. These may include preparing perennials for summer, trimming bushes and hedges, pulling our weeds from flower beds and gardens, edging the lawn, and pretty much anything else that will prepare the yard for summer.
Do I Need a Spring Clean-up?
Yes! Even if you picked up your leaves the previous fall, many more have likely fallen during the winter. These leaves will block the sun from reaching the soil, trap moisture between the grass and the leaves, and overall prevent the grass from growing quickly. It is important that you always clean up your lawn each spring to prepare it for the summer. The other additional services may not be necessary, but a spring cleanup is definitely the most beneficial service for your lawn in the spring.
How to Do a Spring Clean-up:
Unlike aerations and dethatching, spring clean-ups are a job that almost any homeowner can do with common personal lawn equipment. As soon as the snow has melted you can use a rake, lawnmower with a bag, or a leaf blower and collect all the debris. The only part of a spring clean-up that might be challenging for a homeowner is the disposal. Most likely you will not be able to fit the debris into your yard waste pickup can (if you even have one). In Minnesota, most counties have public yard waste dumps open on weekends and some weekdays. If you have a vehicle capable of transporting debris you can take the waste to the dump for free. If your county does not have a free public yard waste dump you can most likely find yard waste disposal sites that will allow you to pay to dispose of your debris.
Common Spring Clean-up Mistakes:
There are a few common mistakes that can easily be avoided if you know about them in advance. The first mistake is performing the clean-up too early. Obviously you want to wait until the snow has melted, but you also want to wait until the ground is dry too. If you are using a rake to collect the leaves and the ground is wet, your rake may tear up the grass. If you are using a lawnmower the wheels may tear up grass if you turn abruptly. Even if you are using a leaf blower, the force from the wind can sometimes be enough to lift up the grass with small roots. Another common mistake when performing a leaf-clean-up is doing it too late. If you wait until the grass starts growing it will be more difficult to collect the leaves, and the grass will have already suffered the consequences of being buried under a layer of leaves.
Hire a Professional or Do it Myself?
As I said earlier, spring clean-ups are one of the few services which most homeowners can do themselves. If you are looking to save money and are willing to spend upwards of five or six hours collecting leaves and driving them to the local yard waste collection site, great! It can be a rewarding accomplishment to work for hours in your yard and enjoy its beauty when completed. On the other hand, if you are willing to spend a little money, would like to save time, and would like your lawn to look as nice as possible, a professional is a way to go. They most likely do close to a hundred clean-ups a season so they know when to start and when it is too late, and they have more experience so they are less likely to make other mistakes. It could take you an entire day to do it yourself, but a professional can probably do it in an hour.
How Much Does a Spring Clean-up Cost?
Each lawn care company charges a different amount for a spring clean-up based on their expenses. Most companies will have a set fee for the entire job, though it is not uncommon to be charged by the hour. In Minnesota, it is common to have a spring clean-up cost anywhere from two-five times the cost of a mow for your yard. In general, you can expect the cost to be between $100 and $200, depending on the size of your yard, the amount of leaves, and the obstacles in your yard. If the company is charging per hour, it is common to cost between $60 and $120 per man-hour.