It’s spring! The flowers are blooming, the temps are rising, and it’s time to get your lawn ready for summer. That’s right – if you want a lush, green lawn this summer start working on it now. From tune-ups and trimming to aerating and fertilizing, we’ve got your list of spring lawn care steps covered. Read on to see how you can get a head start preparing the lawn now before summer is in full swing.
General Lawn Maintenance
When the snow stops and you’re ready to start prepping the lawn, start with a basic clean up. Remove debris from the grass using a rake and/or a blower to collect any random twigs and leftover leaves. This prevents miscellaneous items from getting stuck in the mower or from blocking weed killer and fertilizer from reaching the lawn.
Get the Mower Ready
When the sun starts shining, the grass will pop up and need to be cut before you know it. Don’t get caught off guard with dull blades or a messy mowing deck. Perform a spring tune-up on the mower, trimmer and any other lawn equipment to make sure it’s all fit for service.
A solid tune-up task list might include:
• changing the oil
• greasing the fittings
• cleaning beneath the mowing deck
• sharpening the blades
• replacing the air filter and spark plug
• cleaning the carburetor
Once the equipment is good to go, mow … and mow often. High growth can limit root reproduction, so mowing every five days (if weather allows) for the first few weeks of spring will foster fuller growth. That said, set the mower on its highest setting to avoid an ultra-short cut that can also stunt growth.
Controlling weeds starts with attacking them early (as in before they emerge). After the yard is clean and mowed, apply a pre-emergent weed killer to prevent them from taking over come summer. This can keep seeds from germinating and reduces the amount of dandelions, crabgrass, etc. Repeat the application later in the summer after about three months.
Should You Aerate Your Lawn?
The best time to aerate your lawn is late summer (around Labor Day). However, some lawns become compacted from heavy snow, parking or even kids constantly playing on the grass and can require a spring aeration cycle to give the soil room to stretch. The later summer cycle is preferred because the aeration holes can lead to weed seed germination – especially with crabgrass. If the lawn needs aeration, aim for around Memorial Day before the weeds turn to seeds.
Reseeding Your Lawn
If you spot any bare patches that need some extra love (in the form of grass seed), treat them with seed in the spring to encourage pre-summer growth. Rake the soil then shake a layer of seed over the bare patches. Mix the seeds into the soil with a gentle raking, then water the patch and cover it with hay to protect the seeds. Sprouts can appear in two to three weeks if the weather cooperates.
For lawns that have thinned out, it might make sense to overseed the entire lawn instead of reseeding just a few patches. Overseeding – sowing seed on top of existing grass – makes the yard thicker and fuller. Aerating the yard before it is overseeded also can help ensure better contact between seeds and the soil.
Different blends will call for different amounts of seed, and you certainly won’t need as much in overseeding as you will in reseeding (or seeding a brand new lawn). Either way, use a fertilizer spreader to ensure even distribution across the patch or entire yard. Follow that application with starter fertilizer to promote growth. Keep the new seed watered with a fine spray – nothing too heavy – even after sprouts appear. Feel free to mow after seedlings reach 3 inches tall.
Fertilizing Your Grass in the Spring
A slow-release spring grass fertilizer in late spring, just as the grass reaches a solid green growth spurt, is a strategic tool for building solid turf this growing season. Fertilizer helps the grass get off to a solid start, and the slow release of nutrients occurs over time. Most fertilizers last about six to eight weeks so plan to reapply midsummer and early fall.
More Lawn Care Tips from Brothers Grimm
If mastering the grass feels like a mathematical equation of fertilizer, herbicide, seed, water and sun, give Brothers Grimm a call. We know what it takes to achieve lush, green grass all summer long. For more spring lawn care tips like these, click here.