When the days grow longer, temperatures get warmer, and snow starts to melt, it can only mean one thing... spring has sprung!
As neighbors embark on post-hibernation walks, your landscaping is bound to attract the eyes of passersby. It's inevitable. So, this season, give your neighbors something nice to look at. When they come to your door asking for your lawn tips, you won't regret it.
How do you take your dingy, dead winter grass to a healthy, luscious, green lawn? We have got you covered. In today's blog, we'll take you through our guide to getting your ideal, beautiful lawn.
Without further ado, here are our Spring Lawn Care Tips!
Cleaning Up Your Yard
The perfect time to start your spring lawn routine is early in the season. If your area gets snow, wait until after the spring thaw, once the last of the snow has melted.
The first step to getting your lawn ready may seem obvious, but it is extremely important: clean up your yard. After the winter, there may be twigs, branches, or trash left on your grass. Make sure to do a loop around the lawn and pick everything up. This will ensure that your yard is clean and ready for spring lawn chores.
Once your yard is all clean and cleared, it's time to rake. Raking is essential in the spring, even if there are no fallen autumn leaves to pile up.
One problem standing in the way between you and a healthy lawn is thatch. Thatch is the layer of debris and dead grass blades found in the middle of fresh grass and the soil. A thick layer of thatch will prevent the necessary amounts of water and air from reaching your grass. This can do a lot of damage to your lawn.
Fortunately, raking is an easy solution for removing the thatch layer. When you rake, be sure to use a flexible, spring-tine rake. This ensures that you will not damage the roots of emerging grass plants. Rake until you have removed all dead grass.
If you come across any matted clumps of grass, use your rake to loosen these patches. These matted areas may be caused by snow mold, a common lawn disease. Raking over these clumps will allow for new grass to grow.
At the beginning of spring, turfgrasses tend to be more vulnerable. To be safe, wait to rake until your grass is green, with firm roots. Also, avoid raking when the soil is muddy and soft.
Determining if You Need to Aerate
Lawn aeration is a process in which small holes are made in the soil, loosening up the ground for nutrients, water, and air to travel.
Typically, you should not aerate your soil in early spring, unless certain circumstances require it. For instance, aeration may be beneficial to your lawn if it is overly compacted. Plants struggle to grow in compacted soil, resulting in weak patches of grass. Thus, if you have soil compaction, aerating is a great solution.
Otherwise, in the early spring, the holes that are made from aerating soil can promote weed growth. The ideal time to aerate cool-season grasses is in the fall. for warm-season grasses, opt to aerate in the late spring to summer.
How to Aerate:
- About a day or two before aerating, water your lawn to soften the soil.
- Flag areas of your lawn that you do not want to run over, like sprinkler heads or utility lines.
- Choose the type of aerator that works best for your lawn. The three most common types are core/plug, spike, and slicing aerators.
- Go over your full lawn in one direction.
- If soil is severely compacted, go back over the lawn in the direction perpendicular to the first round.
- Leave the removed plugs of soil on the lawn to decompose and release their nutrients.
Testing the Soil Acidity
Overly acidic soil is a common cause of various lawn issues, including moss, disease, and weeds. A fairly simple way of determining if your soil is too acidic is by testing your yard's pH.
While somewhat depending on the type of grass, most grass varieties grow best in soil with neutral pH, around 6.0-7.2. Soil tests can be a useful tool to determine what your soil pH is. You can purchase a soil test kit at a local garden or hardware store, or you can have a cooperative extension office test it for you.
Your cooperative extension office can also analyze your results and provide recommendations on the best treatments for your lawn. If your soil is too acidic, they most likely will recommend spreading ground limestone into your soil. This process is referred to as "liming."
Overseeding is done by applying grass seed over existing grass. It is typically recommended that you overseed warm-season grass from late spring to early summer and cool-season grass in the fall. However, if there are thin or bare spots on your lawn, you can opt to overseed in the spring.
When overseeding, apply a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer (like PRO ORGANIC Lawn Food) to the soil. Make sure to water frequently enough that the soil is moist. After the grass seed germinates and sprouts, you may continue with your normal fertilization routine.
How much you water your lawn in the spring will depend on your climate and the variety of grass. Generally, the rule of thumb is to water deeply and infrequently, about once a week.
While you may be tempted, hold off on watering your grass in the early spring. This time is when grass roots grow into the soil, thriving on drier soil.
The best way to determine if your grass needs watering is to see if it springs back up after stepping on it. If it does not spring back up, it is probably dehydrated.
Spring is a big season for weed growth. It is important that you reduce the weeds on your lawn as they will compete with grass for water and nutrients during the growing season.
To reduce the number of weeds in your garden, you may opt to use an herbicide. Pre-emergent herbicides will prevent annual weeds, such as crabgrass before their seedlings appear. For perennial weeds that appear every year, you can either pull out their stems before they yield seeds or apply a post-emergent herbicide.
Be mindful, herbicides diminish the growth of new seedlings. Therefore, if you opt to use herbicides, hold off overseeding until the late summer or early fall.
Additionally, many lawn care experts recommend that you avoid using "weed and feed" products. This is because the times of year in which you should fertilize and apply herbicide are different. Furthermore, fertilizers have high concentrations of nitrogen, which will only promote more weed growth.
Before spring, make sure to get out your mowing equipment and carry out any necessary maintenance. This might include changing the oil and ensuring the blade is sharp enough.
It is time to start mowing when your grass is dry and long enough to be cut. We recommend that you cut your grass frequently and leave the height high. Longer grass blades tend to promote deeper and stronger roots; they also prevent sunlight from reaching weeds below.
The best time to mow is in the mid-morning or late afternoon. This is when the grass is dry and the temperatures are cooler. Avoid mowing after rain or dew.
When determining your mowing schedule, plan according to grass growth. Mow the grass only when it needs it.
Contrary to what you might expect, you will want to hold off fertilizing your grass in the early spring. In the first few weeks of spring, grass will require less fertilizer, as it is establishing deep roots. Weed growth, meanwhile, will thrive on fertilizer.
About three weeks after your grass turns green, feel free to fertilize. This should be after around your 3rd or 4th mowing.
A couple of days before applying your fertilizer, water your lawn deeply. Then, depending on the fertilizer you choose, you may want to use a spreader for easier distribution.
When it comes to growing a healthy and thriving lawn this upcoming season, we hope these spring lawn care tips help. Good luck and happy gardening!