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The time has come for spring yard work

Mark Brooky • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:28 AM

"That first step of fertilizer, a crabgrass preventer, needs to go down now, which is a lot sooner than normal," he said. "We got dandelions out already. Typically, we don't see dandelions until early May or maybe late April."

Tuuk said this has been the Grand Haven area's earliest spring in more than a decade.

"The year 2000, we had an early spring similar to this," he said. "It was real nice and got warm real quick."

The early spring push has been a big boost for business people like Tuuk — who, like him, are also in the snow-plowing business. It's helping them recover from a winter that lacked plowing jobs.

Across the street at VIP Repairs, 1442 Washington Ave., owner Sam VanderPloeg said sales of lawn-care equipment has so far been much higher than he had expected for his first spring in business. But he said he's been prepared for the rush.

"Instead of slowly building up, they all of a sudden ramped up quick," VanderPloeg said of spring yard work.

VanderPloeg, a Zeeland resident, said he wasn't sure what Northwest Ottawa County homeowners used in lawnmowers: walk-behinds or riders. He stocks both, and is seeing more walk-behinds going out the door and coming in for repairs and tune-ups, at least so far.

VanderPloeg advises homeowners bringing their mowers out for the first time to give them proper maintenance to avoid headaches this summer. He said you should put in a fresh spark plug, air filter and fuel, and have the blade sharpened.

"Somebody who's trying to mow their grass with a dull blade, it's going to make the mower work a lot more," he said.

Tuuk advises gardeners to resist the urge to plant early. He said mid-May is the recommended time to plant flowers and vegetables.

"People are wanting to plant, but we're telling people to hold off for the fact of frost," Tuuk said. "Below-freezing temperatures will even damage perennials. ... We all got spoiled with these 80-degree temperatures back in March, so everybody's thinking plant, plant, plant — and Michigan weather still says no, no, no."

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