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Good Question: When Should We Start Yard Work This Spring?

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Spring is one of the few times many of us look forward to chores. From sweeping off the porch to hosing down the deck to cleaning up the dog mess from the entire winter, it’s a rite of passage after a long Minnesota winter.

“We carried a whole bunch of garbage out to the curb and cleaned the garage,” said Ginny Eames of Eden Prairie.

But once the first warm days arrive, experts warn we can be too ready to get out and start working on our yards.

“Our average last frost date in Minnesota is between May 10 and May 15, so I hate to damper people’s spirits, but we’re not out of the woods yet,” said Susie Bachman West of Bachman’s flower shop.

Bachman West advises people to wait until at least late April or early May to really do anything to their lawns. But, she says, each winter is different. Last year, they were two weeks past the normal timeline.

“As far as your lawn or garden, the frost isn’t 100 percent out yet so most gardens are really quite muddy and mushy,” she said. “Stay off of them right now.”

She says the ground temperatures are too cold to plant any seeds. They won’t germinate until at least 45 degrees. Even raking at this point would be a bad idea because you’d pull up many of the grass seedlings.

“The best thing you to do is you’ll see the frost come up from the ground because it will get muddier in your garden,” Bachman West said. “Then, let it dry out and you can go in there and rake it up.”

Mulching should also wait until you are able to clear all the debris and you can see the perennials start to come up. People might also want to avoid walking on their lawns until a few days after the frost comes up.

“If you can tell the frost is off, but you’re walking on it and it feels like you’re walking on a sponge, there’s too much moisture in there,” she said.

It will take warm temperatures and some warm rains before the frost comes out of the ground. Until then, Bachman West says pick up sticks and debris, put out a pansy bowl in your front yard, take the spruce tops off your planters and get your pots out of storage.

Or maybe, go out and check in with the neighbors you haven’t seen in six months.

“All of this sunniness and pleasant weather, just makes you feel good and we like to think of what it’s going to be like,” said Barbara Watzl of Lakeville.

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