A beautiful and healthy looking lawn complements the rest of the garden and makes the whole garden look great. A thicker, lusher, and healthier lawn is every gardener’s dream as well as enhancing the aesthetic value of your home.
Have you ever wondered why your neighbors have a lawn that looks so much more full of life than yours? The chances are that your neighbors just spend a little more time maintaining their grass, and just little extra time can make a big difference! You can make your grass look like your neighbor’s lawn with just a little care and effort.
Get out to the garden this spring and cherish the ultimate joy of flowers starting to bloom, birds singing, and the sparkling light that makes your lawn look so great. Start preparing your lawn for a lush growing season before the daffodils begin to bloom. The exact timing to work on your spring lawn care chores depends upon the climatic conditions of your zone. If you get snow in your zone, then wait until the snow is over before getting started. Starting during or just before Spring arrives would be perfect!
I am looking forward to sharing the keys to grow a healthy and beautiful lawn that will be the envy of all your friends and family. By doing these simple care tasks you can prepare your lawn to fight several challenges such as drought, weeds, insects, and diseases during the active growing season, keeping your grass looking fresh and full all year round!
Rake any leaves and debris from your lawn
The first thing that you should do is to remove any leaves, debris and grass blades that could not survive the winter season. If you leave the dead leaves and grass blades alone, they can add to the thatch layer of your lawn. If you are not familiar with the word ‘thatch’, it is the layer of dead turfgrass tissues lying between the green grass and the root system. If the thatch layer becomes too thick it can have a negative impact on the health of your lawn. You can rake the leaves deeply to prevent the development of thatch, although the use of a scarifier would also be a great help.
Snow mold is a fungal problem that often develops during the winter season and creates matted grass clumps that can hinder the new growth. Raking is also helps to loosen the grass clumps formed by snow mold. You can use a spring-tine rake with a strong pull to remove the dead grass but don’t rake when the soil is soft and muddy, you may end up pulling the healthy grass crowns.
Aerate your lawn
If you often get heavy traffic on your lawn such as running and playing activities, especially in the same spot then it can lead to the development of compact soil. Proper air circulation is necessary to prevent soil compaction. If you find moss thriving on the compact soil of your lawn you can get rid of it, but you must know the actual cause. In the case of moss development, it is usually the soil that needs aeration. Use a lawn aerator to create openings in the lawn turf that lets the water and air to circulate through the soil and reach the grass roots. For a small lawn, you can use a hand aerator to do the job but for a large garden you can rent an aerator or hire a professional service to do the job for you.
Early spring isn’t the best time of year to aerate your lawn so try and do this from late spring to early summer. If the soil is highly compacted then it will not let the grasses grow, if this is the case then it becomes necessary to aerate your lawn in the early spring season instead of leaving it for the summer. Generally, spring aeration is not recommended because the aeration holes provide a chance for the weeds to germinate, after all, weeds are the first to germinate during the spring season. If you plan to aerate your lawn, consider doing it when the weeds have started growing but before they go to seed.
Mow your lawn
Lawn mowing is another great way to remove the old leaves from the lawn. Start mowing your lawn when the soil is dry, and the grass has grown to the point where it needs trimming. How long you should trim your grass depends on the type of grass you are growing but avoid mowing your lawn too low because if you cut the grass too short then it will let the sunlight access the soil that will ultimately encourage the germination of weed seeds. It also promotes shallow root development that puts your lawn at risk of drought conditions.
Do not leave the leaves and lawn clippings on the ground and make sure you dispose of them properly. You can always empty the grass clippings into a compost bin as this will later turn into a great fertilizer for your lawn and will boost the supply of nutrients to your plants.
Water your lawn
The water needs of your lawn vary by region. Don’t water your lawn early in the spring season. Hold on! Wait until the grass exhibits the signs of wilt. The grass might not show the signs of wilt until the late spring or early summer season. Water deeply and always let the grass wilt slightly before applying the next water. Generally, applying an inch of water per week is enough, although this can ofcourse vary depending on the weather. I have actually written a hole article titled ‘when is best to water your lawn in the Summer’.
Assess the soil
Check the soil to make sure it is in the best condition to help your grass flourish. If you spot a moss coating on the ground, it indicates the soil is high in acidity. Grasses love to grow at a neutral pH. You can add limestone to neutralize the soil pH but do not expect it to give you a quick fix as it takes time to develop and work it’s way into the soil. On the contrary, soil high in alkalinity can also cause problems to your lawn. So, apply lime in moderation only as a corrective measure.
Fertilize to boost nutrients in your lawn
Apply fertilizer 3 weeks after the grass starts greening as if you apply fertilizer earlier on in the year then you may promote weed growth creating fertilizer runoff. You can fertilize your lawns organically by incorporating compost. Experts recommend lighter feeding during the spring season and heavier feeding in the late fall season but applying too much fertilizer can encourage diseases and weed growth. Even if you have fertilized in late fall you still need to fertilize your lawn in the spring season. Before you begin make sure to read all the directions and warnings on the fertilizer container as they can vary widely, for example, some may or may not be safe for pets. Use gloves, change clothes, wear an old pair of shoes, and take a shower after applying the fertilizer.
Give plenty of lawn seed
Fill the bare or thin patches in your lawn by overseeding. The perfect time to overseed the warm season grasses is in the late spring, while cool-season grasses should be overseeded in the fall. If you are living in a colder zone then you can try spot seeding in small patches that give good results and a slow-release fertilizer to fertilize your lawn at the time of overseeding. Later apply a quick-release nitrogen fertilizer after 5 weeks of overseeding. Generally, fall is the perfect time for overseeding but if you feel that your lawn grass is on its last legs then you can apply fertilizer immediately.
Get rid of the weeds in your lawn
Weeds are the most unwanted thing that none of us likes to see growing in our lawns. If you want a weed-free lawn, spring lawn care is as much about weed prevention as it is for promoting a healthy-looking lawn. To get rid of the weeds apply a pre-emergence or post-emergence herbicide. In the case of crab grasses that are hard to eradicate your need to apply both pre-emergence and post-emergence herbicides. Pre-emergence herbicides create a chemical barrier at the top layer of soil that prevents the seeds from developing roots and shoots.
Don’t forget to get your equipment checked
Spring is also the time to get all of your gardening tools checked. Give your equipment such as your lawnmower a tune-up once a year. Change the oil, replace the air filters, and install new spark plugs. Make sure you have fuel on hand to start the first grass cutting of the year.