Now that spring is within sight, it’s time to get your lawn ready for warmer weather. Winter can leave grass, shrubs and trees weak and hungry for nutrients. Ensuring the proper spring lawn care now can lead to a lush, green yard throughout the rest of the year. Here are 8 tips for preparing your lawn for spring.
Now is the time to clean up leaves, twigs, and other debris in your yard. This debris can get stuck in lawnmowers and can also prevent fertilizer and other nutrients from being properly absorbed by your lawn. Use a rake or an air blower to get rid of as much debris as possible.
Use Fertilizer and Herbicides
After the harsh weather of winter, grass is hungry for essential nutrients needed for growth in the spring. At the same time, weeds will start to emerge as the weather warms up. Early spring is the best time to go ahead and apply fertilizer to feed your turf along with a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent crabgrass. 6 to 8 weeks after this, reapply your fertilizer and pre-emergent again, along with a broadleaf weed killer. There are several combination products on the market to help cut down on cost and the number of products you have to apply.
Cut the Grass
Letting grass grow too high between cuts can actually stunt roots, preventing them from reproducing and growing properly. Instead of mowing once per week, try to cut your grass every 5 days, at least for the first 6 weeks of spring. This can help lead to a fuller, thicker lawn.
Choose the Right Mulch
Once your lawn is taken care of, it’s time to turn your attention to your landscaping, especially mulch. Edge out your flower beds and trim back any dead branches on your shrubs. Now is also the perfect time to replace your mulch, giving your landscaping a much needed “spring cleaning.” Try to use a heavier mulch rather than wood chips for longer durability.
Winter can wreak havoc on your trees along with your lawn. It can be difficult to tell if tree branches are dead without actually getting up into the tree to inspect them. Falling tree limbs can cause damage to your property and injury to yourself or others nearby. Consider hiring a professional tree service to come out every 3 years and do a “safety trim” on your trees.
Save Seeding for Fall
If you are using a pre-emergent herbicide or weed killer in the spring, new seeds you sow will not germinate. For this reason, it’s better to overseed or reseed your lawn in the fall. For brown spots, fertilize in the spring and new shoots will help fill in these areas. If bare patches are too big or you just can’t wait for fall, consider laying sod instead of reseeding.
Rake the Yard
Raking isn’t just a fall chore. Not only does it get rid of any residual leaves left over from winter, but it also removes dead grass blades, helping to prevent the accumulation of thatch which can prevent nutrients and water from getting to roots. Raking deeply can also break up any existing thatch, leading to healthier growth of your lawn. It’s best to wait to rake until your grass has started to green up, indicating roots are fully rooted and the grass is actively growing. Use a flexible leaf rake rather than a stiff metal rake. Make sure you rake deeply and vigorously.
Aerate if Necessary
Although it is best to aerate in the fall, circumstances may require you to do it in the spring instead. This is especially true for areas that get heavy traffic which can lead to soil compaction. An aerator creates openings in the turf to allow water and air to penetrate the soil and reach the roots. If done in the spring, these holes also provide the ideal location for weeds to thrive.