If you’re an avid gardener, you’ll most likely spend the winter months thinking about and planning what you’ll be doing outside as soon as the weather improves. As spring starts arriving, it will be necessary to do the right preparation to ensure that you’ll experience the best growing season possible.

Below are some basic tasks to complete in your yard and garden once winter has finally released its clutches on this part of your property:

Assess any Damage

The first thing you should do is perform a visual inspection of your yard and garden for signs of damage to any trees, shrubs, plants, and lawn. You may find infected or dead grass or broken and damaged branches as a result of winter storms.

Ensure that all snow is removed off of your lawn, around tree roots, and out of flowerbeds – this should be done carefully to prevent further damage from occurring to existing plants.

Start with a Cleanup

This might sound obvious, but successful spring gardening relies heavily on ensuring that the areas you intend to use for planting are properly cleaned up and prepped. This project should be started as soon as the weather warms up enough to go outdoors.

Start by removing old plant debris that may have escaped your eye with your autumn cleanup. Leaving old plant debris in your garden provides one of the fastest breeding grounds for soil-borne diseases that will affect your new plants, and it will also attract many undesirable insects or pests. Now is also the time to remove any weeds that may have started sprouting.

Prepare the Soil

Regardless of whether you’ll be planting flowers, veggies, trees or shrubs, the soil in your yard and garden will need to be as healthy and fertile as possible – and it will also need to drain properly. In most cases, the best soil is that which is loose, dark and crumbly and spring will be the ideal time to add organic matter to improve density and structure.

It’s recommended to add between 25% and 30% organic matter to your total soil volume, which should equate to approximately four inches of compost or peat moss. This should be spread as evenly as possible over the soil’s surface and then worked in thoroughly.

Start Watering Regularly

Dehydration is one of the most commonly experienced problems with plants during the winter months because freezing conditions turn water sources into ice – leaving plants without the water they need to remain hydrated.

Thoroughly watering your garden will also help ensure that the remaining snow and ice is melted, and it will also help get rid of any de-icing salts that may have been used during winter.

Performing the necessary preparation in your garden as soon as the weather starts thawing out will help ensure that you’ll be able to get maximum growth and benefit from any flowers, trees, shrubs, and lawn that you intend to plant and tend throughout the rest of the year.