Spring Lawn Care Tips
Spring lawn maintenance makes a big difference in the health of your lawn during the summer. Follow these spring lawn care tips to have a healthy, green lawn throughout the entire growing season. Aerate the lawn. There are few things that help a lawn more than aerating it. Make sure you aerate after the lawn has started actively growing again. (Warm season grasses go completely dormant in the winter, and cool season grasses don't grow as much when it is very chilly.) Top-dress with a lightweight compost or topsoil after aerating, or after mowing the lawn a little shorter than usual. Some lawns have problems with building additional organic matter. You can remedy this by giving your lawn just about ½ inch of compost in the spring. Put down summer weed pre emergence herbicide. Before it heats up is the right time to do this. Most pre emergence herbicides will work for three or four months. To get the best weed control, you have to apply before the weeds start sprouting. (Hence the name "pre emergence." It doesn't work post-emergence!) If you use a granular herbicide, make sure to water the lawn well so that the herbicide will break down and become active. Organic gardeners can use corn gluten meal as a pre emergence herbicide. If you had grub problems the previous year, apply milky spore. This is available at most lawn and garden centers. It is also an organic remedy, which makes it more people-friendly. When applied correctly, milky spore can last for up to fifteen years in the soil. Overseed areas that have been damaged during the winter. Mow the area very short, top dress with ½ inch of light topsoil and overseed. Make sure to keep the grass seed well watered until established, and do not mow or walk on it for a month or so. Sharpen your mower blades. While this is not directly caring for your lawn, it is a big part of healthy grass. Sharp mower blades will produce a cleaner cut that heals faster. The clean cut will also give your lawn a more uniform appearance. Dull blades tear the grass plant, and the torn ends dry out, creating a whitish sheen over the lawn. Do not fertilize unless you have to. If you do want to fertilize to green your lawn, put down a very light application with about ¼ of the nitrogen you would use for a fall application. High-nitrogen fertilizers stimulate leaf growth at the expense of root growth. When the lawn begins actively growing again, you want to make sure that the roots produce new growth first, before the top starts taking off. De-thatch by aerating or using a verticutter. More than an inch of thatch provides homes for too many detrimental critters and diseases. Calibrate your irrigation system. Much like mower blade sharpening, this isn't something you do to the lawn, but something that will benefit the lawn. The spring is a good time to fire up the irrigation system, and run all of the zones, testing for any broken heads or areas that need re-calibrating. Spring lawn maintenance activities will give your lawn a jump start for healthy growth the rest of the growing season.