It is that time of year again when the daylight last a little longer, temperatures are getting warmer, and winter is in the rear view mirror. Spring has officially arrived and it is time to venture outside and get the lawn looking great. However, as eager as you may be to begin improving the look of your lawn, patience is an important part of the process. See our top 5 checklist of time tested spring lawn care tips.
Get your soil tested
Just like our bodies need various vitamins and minerals to be healthy and strong, so does your lawn. But not just any nutrients will do. Having your soil tested annually (as is provided with every Lawn Serv account) will tell you what specific nutrients are needed to achieve optimal results and obtain a healthy and lush lawn.
Debris Cleanup & Mowing
No doubt your lawn has experienced the effects of winter with twigs, sticks, leaves, ect. littering the yard along with dead grass. Definitely pick up the major debris as time allows, but hold off on any vigorous raking or mowing until the grass is mostly green and the ground is fairly dry, otherwise you risk doing more damage than good to your lawn. Raking or detaching can tear up roots if the soil is to damp for roots to hold. When appropriate give the entire lawn a coarse raking to pull off any dead grass and debris. dethatching is also an option at this time of year, but is a more involved process and will be covered in a separate article. One trick you can use to save some time is to give you lawn a “short cut”. Setting the mower blades a little lower will help pull up some of the dead grass, without the added step of raking. Don’t go to low however, or you’ll risk damaging the crowns of the grass. Having a shorter first cut before applying any products will also help facilitate getting the fertilizer down to the roots where it’s needed and getting the pre-emergent to the seeds.
If your lawn is prone to weeds, early spring can be a good time to apply herbicides to prevent the weeds from developing. Crabgrass is the most common as it is a prolific seeder and the bane of many homeowners seeking a better lawn. If you had a crabgrass issue last year (or even multiple years back) expect to see it again this year, so consider using a pre-emergent herbicide. It may be tempting to use the more is better method for controlling weeds, but avoid this mentality or you may damage the young grass that is starting to grow. For ideal results you will want to apply the weed control as soon as the soil temperature consistently reaches 55 degrees.
A green lawn is great, but keep in mind the goal of your spring lawn care is to encourage maximum root volume and depth to prepare the grass for summer heat and drought. During springtime green will happen on its own. Similar to weed control, don’t overdue the fertilizer in the spring. Too much will cause a flush of growth at the expense of the roots. Lawn Serv customers, no need to worry about how much is too much, you will receive just the right amount of fertilizer for your lawn size and time of year.
Overseeding in the spring is not ideal, as it will be tough for the young grass to develop enough strength to survive the tough summer months. However, you’ll want to fix any bald spots so try to get the seeding done early so the new grass will have enough time to develop before the summer stress. Watering will be key to helping young grass survive the entire season. Grass seed will start to germinate when soil temperatures reach 50°F, so as soon as your seeing soil temperatures in this range, get the seed down. For the same reason pre-emergents work on crabgrass and other weed seeds, they also work on grass seed, so be careful not to use pre-emergents over new grass seed.
A little extra effort in the spring will pay big dividends all year long, and help make the entire lawn care season much more manageable. By following the above steps you’ll be on your way to a thicker, fuller, more healthy lawn that will be the envy of all your neighbors. Now if I could just get the same results with my hair.