When we think about lawn care, few of us give winter much thought. The truth is, the healthier your lawn is before winter comes, the better shape it will be in next spring.
- Clean up- If you remove debris like grass clippings and leaves before snow hits, you will have less chance of snow mold and matting when spring arrives.
- Fertilize- Applying fertilizer in the winter readies your lawn for spring. By feeding, you are keeping it healthy during the winter months so that your lawn will begin to green even earlier in the spring.
Once spring does arrive, it’s time to get started in earnest. Here are some spring lawn prep tips.
- April showers- You should wait until your yard has thawed and dried before you start working on it. Soil compaction can happen if there is too much foot traffic on wet soil.
- Snow- If you have piles of snow in your yard, it’s a good idea to spread it around to encourage melting. Removing it from shaded areas will help you prevent snow mold.
- Test your soil- If it has been longer than three years since you’ve tested your lawn’s soil, you should have it done. This will let you know what nutrients your lawn needs.
- Ready your mower- Your lawn tools should have a tune-up in the spring before you begin lawn care. Sharpen the mower blades. Change the spark plug, oil and filters.
Now you’ve begun your spring lawn prep, time to dive in!
- Mow low- When you notice that your lawn is starting to green, cut it short enough to get rid of the dead grass tops, but not so short that you damage the plants’ crowns.
- Aeration- Although fall is the best season to aerate cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses need to be aerated in the summer, you can aerate your lawn in the spring if you do it early enough.
- Overseeding- If you have bare areas in your yard and you missed out on overseeding your cool-season grasses in the fall, you can still do it early in the spring. Just combine your overseeding with your aeration, that way the seeds can work their way down into the holes you just created.
- Fertilize- If you missed your fall application, you can fertilize in the spring as long as you do so sparingly. You should use less than 1/2 lb. of Nitrogen/1000 ft^2. Plan your first application around mid-April, and then do another application near Memorial Day.
- Water- You’ll likely be dealing with a lot of snow melt and spring rains, so hold off on watering. In fact, if you let your grass get a little needy for water, it will cause the roots to go deeper in search of water. The deep roots help your lawn survive when the hot, dry summer days come around.
Spring lawn prep is important for a healthy, beautiful lawn. Follow these tips for a wonderful yard year around.