As the weather warms, the time for spring cleaning is upon us – and that doesn’t just apply to your house! Spring is the time to get your lawn in shape, as well. Cold weather during the winter can leave your grass weak because of the ice, snow, and freezing temperatures. Spring is the time to get your grass replenished and nourished so that you can have a lush, healthy lawn during the warmer months when you want to enjoy it. Here are some spring lawn care tips to get you ready for spring.
Don’t Start Too Early
Timing is everything when it comes to landscaping. While many of us want to jump right in as soon as the weather is warm, starting on your lawn too early can actually compact the soil and kill new grass shoots before they are fully matured. Try to wait until your lawn has turned mostly green before doing any mowing or aerating. Check your soil to see if it is compacted. If it is, add aeration to your fall lawn care plan. It is not recommended to aerate your lawn in the spring.
Rake In the Spring and Fall
While most of us associate raking with falling leaves in the fall, it is just as important to rake in the spring, as well. While there aren’t usually any leaves to rake this time of year, raking does help control thatch by breaking it up and allowing the grass underneath it to breathe. It also helps prevent mold and other diseases. Thatch is the intermingled layer of dead leaves, roots, and stems that accumulates under grass and soil. Thatch is considered excessive if it is more than 1/2″ thick.
Clean Up and Out
Spring cleaning extends from your home to your yard. Your lawn usually sees higher traffic in the summer so cleaning it up in the spring will help prepare for that. Take a walk around your yard and dispose of any twigs, branches, and other debris that may have accumulated. Use your rake to get rid of any dead grass. Wait to put out lawn furniture or other items until the grass has matured and is fully green.
Nourish and Repair
The harsh weather of winter combined with other environmental factors (dog urine spots, large objects like furniture and toys that were left out, areas of high traffic, etc) can cause bare or yellow patches on your lawn. Spring is the time to reseed these areas to fill them back in. After new seed is spread, water the area daily for the first week. Don’t mow these areas until the grass is at least 2 inches tall. If your grass is thin, spring is also the best time to overseed to help thicken these areas. After the overseeding is spread, water these areas daily for at least 2 weeks. A slow release nitrogen fertilizer can also be applied when you overseed and then again about 5 weeks after the grass starts to sprout.
Fertilize Your Lawn
Early spring is ideal for applying a fertilizer with weed killer to provide additional nourishment for your lawn. Best practice is to use a lighter fertilizer in the spring and save the heavier fertilizer for fall as this allows the grass to sustain nourishment over the colder winter months. Too much fertilizer in the spring can also allow disease and weeds to flourish.
Keep Your Mower Height High
This rule applies year-round. Any time you mow it is best to only remove about 1/3 of the total grass length at any given time. In early spring, mow at the highest setting based on the type of grass you have in your lawn. By leaving the grass taller you allow the roots to sink deeper and crowd out any weeds that may be emerging.
Edge Your Flower Beds
Edging in the spring helps prevent grass from invading your flower beds. Edging is best done by using a garden spade to cut a deep, V-shaped trench about 2-3″ deep around the edges of the flower beds. Once this is done, it can be maintained with a string trimmer throughout the summer and you can recut the trenches as you need to.
Get Rid of Weeds
Weeds can quickly take over your lawn if left unchecked. There are two types of weed killers (also known as herbicides): pre-emergent and post-emergent. Pre-emergents kill weeds before seedlings can even emerge. Post-emergents kill weeds after they have germinated. Pre-emergents should be applied in conjunction with fertilizer so that it forms a barrier that prohibits the germination of the weed seeds. You should also avoid aeration when using a pre-emergent as this will puncture the barrier the herbicide provides and it won’t be effective. Post-emergents can be applied any time. Take caution when using these herbicides and make sure to read the product label carefully. Some post-emergent herbicides are selective meaning they only target weeds while other post-emergents will kill anything that is green, including your grass shrubs and flowers!
Eliminate The Grubs
Hibernating grubs begin to crawl toward the surface of lawns to chew on grass roots in late spring. Therefore, a grub preventative product should be applied in early spring. It is especially important to treat for grubs if you had a problem with them in previous years or if you have a neighbor that you know has a problem with grubs.
Tune Up Your Tools
Mowing season really picks up in the spring, making it the best time to clean and tune up your mower and other lawn equipment. Change the oil, air filters and spark plugs and make sure your gas can is full. Clean any dirt or old clippings that may still be lingering on your equipment. Sharpen blades and replace any that are necessary. If your mower has been stored for winter, leave it out in the sun for 1 to 2 hours to warm before cranking it up for the first time.
Call The Pros
Lawn care can seem overwhelming, especially this time of year. While many enjoy working in their yards, others look at it as a chore. Whatever your situation, a professional lawn care company can provide you with a free lawn care analysis and set up the most appropriate treatments and timing to get your lawn healthy and green, not just in the spring but year-round.