Spring is almost here. This year we can hardly wait for those first warm days.
Many of us will still be spending a lot of time at home. Spring is a great time to establish a regular maintenance schedule to keep your lawn looking beautiful all summer long. Caring for your lawn in the spring gives it the best start to grow healthy and lush.
#1. Control weeds.
Once the snow has melted and the growing season has started, weeds can begin to take over your lawn. In the plant world, everything is a competition for light and water. Weeds grow fast, and if you don’t remove or control them, they can choke out your grass.
The best way to deal with weeds is to pull them out, roots and all. You can do this by hand. Or you can apply a low-toxicity herbicide, which will attack the weeds while doing minimal harm to the rest of your lawn and yard. Remember that your trees’ root systems are shallow, and they share the same water table as your lawn.
#2. Rake to remove thatch.
Thatch is the build-up of organic matter like dead grass, leaves, and root stems left over from last year. It sits between your grass and the soil. If you don’t thin it, your lawn will struggle to grow.
Raking out the thatch can help. Use a rake or a lawn scarifier to remove thatch before the growing season really gets underway. Raking can also help to reduce moss, clover, and other invasive items that can choke out your grass.
Like thatching, aerating helps grass grow. It lets water and air penetrate the root zone of the grass for better nutrient absorption. Aerating is done by punching small holes in the lawn at a variety of intervals and depths using a special tool or gardening fork.
If you’re looking for a lush lawn that will be the envy of your neighborhood, you might want to overseed. Overseeding fills in the bare or thin areas of your lawn. It should only be done after raking and aerating, and you can mix in a bit of fertilizer to help the new seeds take hold. Once you have seeded the lawn, be sure to water frequently to keep the soil and seeds moist. Consider also a light top dressing to keep the seeds protected before they germinate and as they grow.
#5. Mow, but not too early.
It’s tempting to mow as soon as you see the first real spring growth in your lawn. Consider waiting, though, until your grass is at least two inches high. Early spring growth can help keep your lawn healthy and thick for the rest of the spring and summer. If you’ve fertilized, you’ll want to allow time for the fertilizer to be absorbed before you mow. The same applies if you’ve overseeded, so your new grass seed has a chance to sprout.
When you do mow, cut only the top one-third of the grass blade. Be sure your mower blade is sharp so you’re making a clean cut, not tearing or shredding the grass. Leave some of the clippings on your grass to feed the roots, too.
A lawn you love can make you feel great about your yard, boost your curb appeal, and create a healthy environment for your trees and shrubs. Early spring is the right time to get started on a lawn maintenance routine for the entire growing season.
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