A fresh and healthy lawn in summer doesn’t just happen by itself, you have to properly maintain the lawn in spring for it to flourish in the warm weather.
During winter, there can be huge alterations in soil pH level, which make the soil compact and friendlier to weeds and diseases. Snow and harsh weather can also leave the lawn with bare spots, invasive plants, and dried grass. If it’s the case with you, there’s no need to panic. Get down to cleaning, mowing, and fertilizing your lawn appropriately after winter.
If you happen to neglect spring lawn care, despite the ramifications of harsh winter days showing up in your lawn, you could end up paying for it the rest of the year. To help you avoid the mistake and best prepare the lawn, here are the best tips to care for your lawn during spring:
1. Create a spring care schedule to ensure all the boxes are checked
2. Clean the lawn off twigs, leaves and any other debris that may have accumulated over the winter
3. Fix the problem of dried, densely packed soil or uneven ground
4. Prepare your lawn mower well in advance to ensure the gas is replaced and blades are sharp
5. Different grass types require different mowing schedule. Make sure you know your grass type and an ideal time to mow it
6. Water frequently. The lawn should be watered about an inch every week to ensure apt moisture in the soil
7. Planting the seeds: Determine the best variety for your region
8. Fertilize adequately, over fertilization can lead to diseases and weed problems
9. Treat weeds and moss on priority since longer they are left to thrive in the lawn, harder it becomes to remove them
10. Fix the bare patches with lawn patches that include coir, grass seeds, and slow-release feed
Create a Spring Lawn Care Schedule
Spring is the time when the grass begins to grow back again; it is also the time to ensure that all the nutrients are provided to the soil through proper mowing and fertilizing. But before you get into that, you need to draft a proper spring care schedule to ensure regular lawn maintenance without neglecting any corner of the yard.
It does take a little time and effort to finish a spring lawn care schedule, but it’s totally worth it. You’ll be helping your lawn to stay healthy over the coming months. It will also assure a lovely time with your family on long summer evenings in your beautiful yard.
Start Off with Some Cleaning
You would say, I just cleaned the lawn before winter. Yes, you did, but cleaning up old debris from the lawn is a continuous task and you’ll have to do it each time before a new season. Seasonal lawn care is incomplete if you do not clean the lawn before mowing or applying fertilizers and herbicides.
The primary step in prepping up your lawn for spring is to remove twigs, leaves and any other debris that may have accumulated in the lawn over the winter. It’s also imperative to clean up the thick layer of wet leaves in early spring since wet leaves can smother a lawn.
Also, trim the trees, shape the hedges and have the lawn ready to be fertilized and watered for a new season.
Fix the Problem Areas
Once you have cleaned the lawn of off debris, you may begin to notice some problems in the ground. You could notice that the soil has dried out and become compact or the ground has become uneven. These problem areas must be addressed quickly, else they will begin to stress out your lawn, making it vulnerable to weeds and diseases.
Give the lawn a light raking if the ground has dried out. You may say, I just cleaned dried leaves, but raking is for achieving more than just removing leaves, it’s also helpful in controlling thatch.
Uneven ground also needs to be taken care off. This is because low spots may cause poor drainage, whereas high spots will be scalped by the lawn mower. Either way, the ground will not be level for growing grass. You can begin by cleaning with a shovel, then cut the areas that are raised and fill in the areas of depression.
If the soil has become densely packed and is allowing weed to take over, it needs to be aerated by removing small plugs of soil from the ground. Even though the soil is properly prepared, you could still face the problem with thatch, a tangle of above-ground roots that are spreading grasses such as Zoysia and Bermuda. To break a thatch, you can use a specially designed rake or mechanized dethatcher.
Also Read: Tips to Prepare Your Lawn For Winter
Prepare Your Mower
Before getting down to mowing, it’s important to get that lawn mower out in the sun to see if it’s functional and ready for the cut. Ensure the gas is not moist, the blades are sharp, and the mower makes a clean cut. Blunt blades tear the grass leaving behind jagged edges which do not look good and tend to invite pathogens.
It is best suited to prepare your mower well in advance to avoid having to run to stores when you are set to mow the lawn. While mowing, leave about two inches of grass in place to preserve the level of water in the soil.
Different Grass Types – Different Mowing Schedule
Largely there are two main groups of grass – warm season grass and cool season grass. Grasses within these two group all have different attributes, but they are best suited to either a warm climate or a cool climate, respectively.
Usually, warm season grasses are used in lawns in southern states of US such as Florida, Arizona, and Texas, while cool season grasses are favored in northern states including Connecticut and Maryland. This is not an exact science though, there are possibilities of overlap and sometimes grasses are used in conjunction with each other.
Mowing has to be done ideally in March if you have cool season grass, and during the second half of February if you have warm season grass.
Plant the Seeds
After cleaning and repairing of the lawn is done, the next step is to reseed the grass areas that are bare or brown as this will improve the appearance of your lawn.
Before seeding, try to figure out the soil conditions that are preventing the grass from growing in the first place. You can even call a local Cooperative Extension office to get the soil tested and find out what’s wrong with it and what necessary nutrients your turf is lacking. After correcting the soil composition, you need to aerate the ground to prevent any issues with soil compaction.
After that, you are all set for spreading seeds across the lawn. Before you select a seed, you also need to determine which variety will work the best in your region. Then you need to estimate the size of the area where you’re planning to plant. This is important because seed coverage is recommended in pounds per square foot.
Don’t ignore the grass after planting. You need to water it regularly to maintain the moisture in the soil and fertilize it with the low-nitrogen products. Also, mow the grass when it reaches three to four inches in height, but try not to trim it less than a half an inch, as doing so can stress the grass.
Water the Right Way
The water requirement of the lawn depends largely on the type of grass and the texture of the soil. But it is largely considered that the ground needs about an inch of water a week during spring to ensure apt moisture in the soil.
The lawn gets most of its water requirement from rain, but the same can be supplemented with automated irrigation systems and water sprinklers. It is economical yet tiring to water the lawn with a handheld lawn sprinkler. If you have the means, you can employ an automated irrigation system, which is an efficient watering system. It comes with fully customizable timer to schedule your watering according to your requirement.
Best time to water the lawn is in the early hours before the sunrise. If that isn’t possible, the lawn should be watered as early as possible, at least before the heat of the day. Watering post sunset should be the last choice since it leads to conditions that invite diseases.
After the grass is well established, you need to encourage its growth by discouraging weed and fertilizing the soil with necessary herbicides. Employing fertilizers and herbicides to your soil depends on certain factors such as your region and the extent of weed in your lawn.
Fertilizer is generally used to help your lawn grow lush and thick, but if not used properly, it can also damage the grass. Slow-Release nitrogen fertilizer is considered the best, and not more than 1 pound of nitrogen should be spread per 1,000-square-feet (over fertilizing can lead to diseases and weed problems). It must be applied early in the season when the turf begins to grow grass rapidly. You can check out the packaging instructions on the fertilizers to see when and how much to use, and how much you should water after fertilizing.
If you want to keep your lawn organic, you can also fertilize by using compost and mulching mowers.
Treat Weed and Moss
Weed seeds can find their way into the lawn through various routes, it’s thus very difficult to full proof the lawn against them. If you find the presence of weeds in your lawn, you need to get rid of them, organically or chemically, as soon as possible. The longer the weeds are left to thrive, the harder it will get to remove them.
If you find the presence of weed but no moss, you can treat the lawn using a liquid lawn weedkiller. Such products contain special ingredients, which when applied in accordance with the instruction manual won’t cause any damage to the lawn grass but will control most broad-leaved weeds.
If you only notice moss but no weed, there are certain lawn moss killers that can be used to green up your lawn, they only kill the moss. Getting rid of moss is important since it turns black as it dies its natural death. You definitely don’t want your lawn to have black spots all over.
Also Read: Useful Tips for Year-Round Lawn Care
Fix the Bare Patches
After the winter season, even the healthiest of lawns tend to have bare areas that look unsightly. These bare patches can become a perfect place for weeds and moss to take over. You need to treat this since spring is the time when the lawn returns to its lushness, and you don’t want to see bare patches in your green lawn.
Using lawn patches for repair is a good idea. Lawn patches include a combination of coir, grass seed, and slow-release feed, helping cover most bare patches in no time.
In most cases, bare spots are created by your pets or by snow removal equipment. These can be repaired with a special mixture of salt tolerant grass seeds and a neutralizer, making the turf suitable for growing grass again. If you think there is a third reason for bare patches, you should get the soil tested to know that reason.
With these tips, you’ll surely be able to have an amazing lawn outside your house. But do not forget that spring lawn care schedule is just the beginning. Your lawn needs to be cared for throughout the year if you want it to remain healthy and green.