Early Springtime Lawn Care Tips
Early Spring Preparation
It’s important to start early with your lawn care rituals. As soon as the snow has melted and the ground is thawed, you should walk your lawn and take note of any bald patches and weeds.
If the soil in your yard is firm and appears to be compact, you’ll want to aerate before anything else to ensure it gets the water, nutrients and oxygen it needs to thrive. A great riding mower attachment to have is an aerator spreader.
If you’ve got primarily clay or acidic soil, you can add lime to raise the pH level. If you’ve got alkaline soil, you can spread some sulfur to lower the pH level.
Another great way to improve the health of any soil in early spring is to spread a thin layer of compost over your hard. You don’t want to use so much that it covers the grass, just enough that it sprinkles in around the roots near the soil (between the blades of grass).
Most of us are familiar with the benefits of fertilizing your lawn. Doing so will provide strong, healthy, dense turf with less weed growth. Early spring isn’t always the best time to fertilize though. Keep an eye on your lawn, and after the grass begins growing at a noticeable pace, this is when you should spread fertilizer.
During the hotter months of summer, the grass may not grow as much. This is natural, and you don’t need to add fertilizer during this time. Instead, wait until early to mid fall and do your second phase of fertilizing then.
New grass seed needs some water to germinate and start growing, but don’t overdo it. Use a spray nozzle to evenly cover the ground until it’s moist but not puddling. Use a sprinkler and set it to water thoroughly (1/2 – 1 inch of water) about once per week.
Make sure the water is applied slowly so it soaks in rather than running off. This encourages the roots to grow deeper for absorbed water, making the grass more resilient. Always make sure to allow your soil to dry between waterings so that it doesn’t become a breeding ground for fungi that spread with prolonged moisture.
If you see any large weed patches beginning to thrive when seeding your lawn, remove them by the roots and replace them with some grass seed.
The best way to prevent weed growth is to encourage thick, vigorously growing grass. If your grass is thriving well, the weeds wont be able to compete. If you wish to use a type of herbicide, use a pre-emergent herbicide that’s eco-friendly.
However, make certain you don’t use the herbicide until after your new grass seeds have germinated and taken hold with their roots. Herbicides like this will prevent grass seeds from germinating and should be used after growth has begun.
Wait to Mow
While you may be eager to break out the lawn mower, it’s a very good idea to let it grow a bit long before the first mowing of the season. Let it grow about 4 inches or so so the roots take hold. Then when you mow, take off about 1 inch, leaving your grass about 2 1/2 – 3 inches long.
Using a mulching kit is a great idea to keep the cut grass pieces blended into the lawn. These small mulched pieces of grass will decompose and provide added nutrients to the soil throughout the growing season.