It is essential to get your lawn off to the right start to help maintain a lush, green lawn through the summer and fall. Follow the below lawn care tips to get your lawn on track to handle the inevitable harsh elements, weeds, and insects that the coming months will bring.
- Mower Maintenance – As you prepare to fire up your lawn mower after a long winter, you should consider tuning it up. This may include changing the engine oil, sharping the blade, changing the air filter, and/or replacing the spark plug. Most lawn mower manuals include a maintenance schedule that you should reference for advice on how to keep your mower running efficiently.
- Rake and Remove Debris – It is not uncommon for lawns to go untouched during the winter. This means that the average lawn will collect a significant amount of debris by the time spring rolls around. You should remove this debris by raking to help promote the growth of your lawn. Raking will also perk up your grass from being matted down by snow. Rake your grass only when it is relatively dry and not muddy to where the rake may pull up the lawn.
- Aerate – The most common form of aerating is core aeration. This pulls multiple plugs of soil from the lawn and leaves them on the surface. The cores natural break down over a week or two so there is no need to rake them up. The holes created by aerating help the grass roots obtain vital nutrients, air, and water by reducing soil compaction. Keep in mind that the fall is even a better time to aerate since this is the season where roots grow to prepare for the long winter. Generally, you should consider aerating in both the spring and fall.
- Weed Elimination – Almost every lawn has at least a couple of weeds during the spring. It is important to plan ahead so that the weeds do not get out of control. Lay down a pre-emergent such as Scotts Halts Crabgrass Preventer in early spring if crabgrass is a problem for your lawn. You must spread a pre-emergent before the crabgrass is actively growing. Be sure to read the product direction for the best time to apply the crabgrass prevent. Broadleaf weeds such as dandelions can be sprayed when actively growing. Seek out a quality dandelion killer spray or weed and feed granules that can be spread to get the job done efficiently.
- Fertilize – Fertilizing in spring helps a lawn obtain the nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) it needs for a lush, green growth. The key is not to spread the fertilizer too early when the roots are not prepared for optimal development. The best time to fertilize is in May or potentially late April if you live toward the south. Never fertilize when the ground is still frozen or soaked with water.
- Overseed – Spreading grass seed over your existing lawn is know as overseeding. This will help thicken your lawn by filling in bare spots. Use only starter fertilizer that is designed for establishing new grass when you overseed. You should also water as directed by the seed manufacturer so that the seeds do not dry out. Be sure to use a quality grass seed that is consistent with your existing lawn.
- Kill Grubs – Grubs can wreak havoc on just about any lawn. The warning signs include animals digging in the lawn, dead brown patches of grass, spongy grass, and an overall weakness of the lawn to stressors. Generally, a grub killer should be applied in June when the grubs have made their way close to the lawn surface.