Winter has been rough, but it’s almost over. That means now is the time to start planning for your summer lawn. With spring just around the corner, here are the some spring lawn care tips and the steps you will need to take to prepare your lawn for summer growth.
Step 1 – Preparation
Before you start adding fertilizer or aerating your lawn, you need to clean it up. Over the fall and winter, twigs, branches, and leaves fell, and they need to be removed. Rake the lawn to remove some of this debris, but make sure you also pick up any garbage, outdoor toys, or other stuff that has made a winter home on the lawn. After that, rake again to remove dead grass. You want to start with a clean canvas as you prepare your lawn for summer. However, make sure you wait until the soil is dry, as raking wet soul can dislodge your grass.
Step 2 – Compaction Check
Over time, the soil underneath your grass will become compacted. Ongoing traffic year after year can lead to this problem. When the soil is compacted, the roots of your lawn cannot get the oxygen they need to thrive. Take a moment this spring to check for compaction. Of course, you can’t feel your soil to check for this, but you can look for moss growing on the surface of the soil. This is the biggest indicator of compaction problems.
The solution for compaction is lawn aeration. Lawn aeration is best done in the fall for cool-season grasses, and in late spring or early summer for warm-season grasses, but knowing now that you will need it done is helpful. You can also talk to your local lawn care company about aeration as part of spring lawn care if you notice that you have a big problem.
Step 3 – Add Lime
Moss on your lawn also indicates acidity. Grass requires neutral pH in the soil, so acidic soil will hinder its growth. Adding lime will help neutralize the pH and create an environment where grass can thrive.
Lime takes time to work, which is why this is a good choice for early spring if your lawn needs lime. Lime is only necessary if you have acidic soil, also, so consider having your soil tested at your local county extension office before applying lime. Too much lime is also dangerous for your lawn, because it will make the soil alkaline.
Step 4 – Overseed
If you notice that your lawn has bare patches after the winter, then you need to consider overseeding. Bare patches can occur because of dogs using the restroom in certain areas of your lawn, heavy foot traffic, or even something that sat on the lawn all winter and damaged the grass. To overseed, add grass seed to those bare patches, then apply a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer to the spot as well. You can overseed in the spring for severe problems, or put it off until late fall when crabgrass is not a risk. Either way, make plans for overseeding now, then give the new grass time to germinate.
You can also use the principle of overseeding to thicken your entire lawn. Simply spread some seed over the lawn with a spreader to allow it to thicken when the growing season hits.
Step 5 – Fertilize
Spring is when you need to fertilize to ensure your lawn has plenty of food to grow through the growing season. If you have warm-season grass, fertilize in late spring when you see the lawn starting to green and grow. For cool-season grasses, fertilize only lightly in spring using a slow-release fertilizer. Feeding too much in the spring will encourage new growth that will not be able to withstand the heat of summer. Save your heavy fertilizing for fall when the cool season grass will thrive.
Step 6 – Pre-Emergent Weed Control
Spring is the best time to get a handle on weeds, before they have a chance to take deep root. Choose a pre-emergent weed control herbicide and spread it in the spring, so that you can enjoy the benefit of weed-free lawn all summer long. Pre-emergent weed control stops weed seeds from germinating, and the first application should be in early to mid spring. These products work for about three months, so you will need to apply them again in the summer.
If you are looking for help with your spring lawn care, or if you are feeling overwhelmed with all that needs to be done, the lawn pros at Senske are ready to help. We will get your lawn ready for spring with the expertise of an experienced, knowledgeable team of lawn care professionals. Contact us today for a free estimate for your spring lawn care, and enjoy the benefit of working with a company that has over 70 years of experience keeping lawns green and thriving.