After a long winter, it's finally time to enjoy the outdoors again. For a healthy yard all season, it's important to do a little "spring cleaning" now for a lush, green lawn. If the work seems overwhelming, projects can be accomplished over several weekends.
Here are six simple projects to help achieve a beautiful lawn this season.
Lawn and garden experts recommend giving the yard a good raking after green starts to show. Raking helps separate matted patches of grass caused by snow mold (if snow is typical for the local climate) and will remove debris and dead grass blades to help prevent excess thatch from developing.
Raking the whole lawn presents opportunities to spot problem areas and remove debris such as pet waste and fallen branches.
2. Give the lawn a "checkup"
Look for signs of compacted soil, such as moss growth, water pooling in low areas or bare spots in the lawn. Compaction can be caused over time by activities in the lawn like foot traffic from children or pets playing in the yard. If the soil appears compacted or the grass is growing poorly, it's a good idea to aerate the lawn in the spring or plan to aerate in the fall.
A spring feeding sets the stage for a healthier, greener lawn all season. In the Northern U.S., spring is a great time to prevent crabgrass and kill broadleaf weeds like dandelion.
Come springtime, the lawn may have bare patches or thin areas that need fixing. The best time to spread grass seed depends on the grass type. Cool-season grasses most commonly found in the Northern U.S. should be seeded early or mid-spring. Warm-season grasses found predominately in the South should be seeded in late spring or early summer. (If a crabgrass preventer or weed control product was recently applied or is going to be applied to the lawn, check the product label for seeding restrictions.)
Bare spots, like those caused by weed dieback, snow mold or dog spots should be fixed using a patching product that combines fertilizer and a water absorbent mulch into an easy-to-apply product. If the lawn is thin overall, use an overseeding product that combines grass seed and a soil improver to help turn weak, thin grass into a thick, green lawn. Newly seeded areas should be watered daily until grass reaches mowing height (two to three inches).
5. Water carefully
Rains are usually plentiful in the spring, but if the lawn has taken on a grayish cast, or footprints don't disappear quickly because grass blades don't spring back, it may be time to water. Watering before 10 a.m. allows the water to soak into the soil and be absorbed by grass roots. Watering midday causes water to evaporate quickly, and watering in the evening leaves moisture sitting on the grass, which promotes fungus and other diseases. Water long enough for moisture to reach six to eight inches into the soil where the grass roots grow. For new grass or newly seeded areas, water daily using an oscillating sprinkler, as pulsating sprinklers wash away seeds before grass can grow.
6. Mow high
Before the first mow of the season, sharpen the mower blade to avoid damaging grass. Don't cut grass too short, as it increases risks for weed infestation and diseases. Taller grass is also more drought resistant, because roots grow deeper and absorb moisture. Don't mow grass while wet — this can clog the mower and leave clumps of grass behind. To avoid compacting the soil, change up the mowing direction and patterns each time.
A little lawn maintenance in spring will make it easier to enjoy a beautiful green yard all season.
Written by Brandpoint for The Healthy Moms Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about the importance of preventative maintenance here!