NEW YORK (CBS 2) — The first day of spring was almost three weeks away but people were already thinking about the growing season. Landscape experts said it wasn’t too early to get your lawn and garden ready, Elise Finch reports.

Most lawns in the Tri-State Area were brown and very bare, but even if parts of your yard were still snow-covered, there were things you could do to get ready for spring.

“Well first of all, general clean up,” said Dennis Preis of GreenLand Landscape. “We had so much wind and big snow storms it took a lot of branches down so they need to be cleaned up.”

The next step according to the experts Greenland Landscape in Paramus was to assess your soil. Moisture, light and the pH balance of soil will impact how things grow.

“If a soil is too sweet, the fertilizer won’t work. The roots can’t uptake fertilizer. And the same thing happens if the soil is too acidic,” said Bill Weiss.

If you use a soil analyzer, experts said you need to test your lawn in at least six different places. You’ll also need to test the plant bed. The reason being soils in different areas often require different things.”

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Next up was to prune your plants.

“Start to thin out dead things that are on the inside,” Weiss said. “The dead thing is light brown and dead looking and the living thing has fat juicy buds and is the color the plant should be. You don’t cut the whole thing off. You cut it right at the node.”

Finally, before the seeding season begins in mid-April, you must remove the thatch from your lawn.

“Thatch is last year’s growth of the risomes of the roots actually collecting together on a lawn and will prevent you from getting seed and nutrients down into your new lawn this spring,” Weiss explained.

You can do it by hand or rent a thatching machine or power rake.  So even if the plants in your yard were still draped in holiday lights, you’re only a few short steps away from being ready for a beautiful spring lawn.

Soil analyzers usually sell for less than $40, and you can rent thatching machines for about $25 an hour, with most mid-sized yards requiring about two hours of work.

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