Everyone is stressed and anxious about the COVID-19 crisis, but one positive to staying at home is the number of chores you can check off your list. Spring showers and increasingly warmer temperatures signal the beginning of April — a great month to prepare for gardening and summer living.
Inspect for animal intruders. Just like humans, animals seek warmth in winter so look for evidence of squirrels, raccoons, rats and possums that may have clawed or chewed a hole in the roof flashing to access your attic. If you find evidence of invaders, call a professional wildlife removal service. They are considered essential home services in most states.
Trim tree limbs. Survey trees near your house for limbs growing too close to the roof or siding. Hire a professional arborist, if limbs are too high, extremely heavy, or near power lines. Landscaping professionals are also on the list of essential services in many states so they are still available for hire.
Organize and clean the garage and shed. Clean and organize spring and summer gardening tools and toys. Encourage family members to put belongings away in their proper locations.
Eliminate mosquito breeding areas. Melting snow and spring rains may leave puddles around your yard or in landscape decorations. Remove standing water to discourage mosquitos.
Check for wood-destroying insects, such as carpenter ants and termites, which can damage your home. Carpenter ants are relatively easy to spot outside, entering your home through small openings. Look for the mud tubes left behind by termites. If spotted, call a pest control professional, they too should be available to treat outside the home.
Time for an AC inspection. The hot summer is right around the corner, so it’s time to have your air-conditioning system professionally inspected. A service technician will inspect the air handler, clean the air conditioner condenser coils, inspect the evaporator coil and check the refrigerant level. Depending on where you call home, this chore can be done in April, May or June, so you may decide to wait until the stringent social distancing guidelines are lifted. Meanwhile, do your part to keep the AC system running smoothly. Change the filters on a regular schedule. Outside, keep bushes cut back from the condenser coils so they can breathe.
Inspect the sprinkler system. Turn on the system and inspect as it switches from zone to zone. Check for damaged sprinkler heads. Replace or adjust as needed.
Gardening goals. In March or April, depending on your climate, it’s time to start thinking about a spring and summer garden. Clear raised planting beds of debris, and turn soil. Most seeds and plants can be purchased online. Start seedlings inside. Do not plant until after the last frost date in your area.
Provide nutrients for your landscape. Depending on your climate zone, March or April is the time to apply fertilizer and weed control. Consult local agricultural extension services online for gardening expertise.
Spring clean. On a warm day in April or May, open up the windows and air out your home. Clean carpets, upholstered furniture and fabric window treatments. Vacuum window blinds and behind large furniture pieces. If you haven’t already, clean windows and repair any broken screens. The kids may actually enjoy helping with the lower level!