With the arrival of the crocuses and daffodils, it’s time to prepare for lawn season. It also signifies the start of spring. Depending on the climate conditions in your area, it’s best to start preparing for the lawn season when the snow season is officially over. For many homeowners, there are at least 8 things to accomplish to prep your lawn for springtime to have it looking its best.
1. Rake Deeply
Raking should be the first thing that homeowners do to prepare their lawn for new growth. It’s a great way to remove thatch and prevent the remnants of the previous season’s grass from coming back. Thatch is the layer of dead grass tissue that’s between the plant’s root system and the grass’s top surface. It can be detrimental to the health of the grass.
2. Apply Weed Killer, Pre-Emergent and Fertilizer
A good start to prepping your lawn for spring is by mixing in some fertilizer and a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent crabgrass from growing. Then, apply these products together again with the addition of a broadleaf weed killer in about 6 to 8 weeks. This weed prevention is about fostering healthy growth in your lawn.
3. Aerate if Needed
Getting too much traffic on your lawn can cause soil compaction, which can then lead to moss growth. It’s important to look deeper into the root cause of this issue to prevent it from growing.
A lawn aerator is a type of machine that’s designed to create openings in the lawn’s surface that allow air and water to enter the soil. If you have a big lawn, you can rent an aerator from your local hardware store. If you have a smaller lawn, it can be done manually.
4. Assess Soil
Moss on the ground can be a sign of acidic soil. Grass prefers a more neutral pH balance. If the soil’s pH is too acidic, then it can lead to moss growth. Various soil amendments can help nudge the pH back to a more neutral level. One of these is liming, which involves adding limestone.
Before you add soil amendments, make an appointment with a local extension office to get a soil sample. They can help you determine the amount of time that’ll be needed to get the job done. If the soil is too alkaline, then it can cause other lawn problems. Your local extension office can also suggest a top-dressing of the soil with elemental sulfur or compost.
5. Trim Tree Branches
Getting up close and personal with a tree is the best way to determine if it has dead or dying branches. Keeping limps trimmed can help prevent them from falling and causing property damage. Consider hiring the help of a tree trimming service every few years for a “safety pruning” of your trees.
6. Mow Early and Often
One of the most common mistakes that homeowners make is not regularly maintaining their lawn. According to a lawn expert, not mowing when needed can stunt the growth of the grass and prevent it from producing healthy roots. Instead, mow every five days during the first couple of weeks of spring to ensure a thick, healthy lawn.
7. Use Heavy Mulch
After your lawn has been properly tended, it’s important to trim back dead branches and replace the old wood chips with hardwood bark mulches around the bases of the trees. Heavy mulches are more durable and look better than ground wood chips.
Even though overseeding is often best done in fall, it should be done in spring when needed. When it comes to filling in neglected or dog-infested patches, overseeding is a good way to get started. Apply a slow-release fertilizer to the newly planted seeds. You can start a regular fertilization routine five weeks after the seeds have started to sprout.