As the days are getting longer, spring lawn care just pops into mind. After the rain and perhaps the snow, with the days becoming a little brighter and warmer every day, the outdoors are becoming more and more attractive. Looking out your windows, you’re wondering how to start and go about a spring lawn care program that will make your lawn look its best during the warm season.
This page will help you answer the following questions:
- When should I start my spring lawn care program? Can I start too early?
- What must I do? What are the first things to look for and do?
- Then, what can I do? What should I be doing to improve my lawn?
When to start your lawn care program
Some people just can’t wait when spring comes. They just want to start racking, fertilizing and planting as early as possible. In fact, it’s not a very good idea. When it comes to spring lawn care, the patient gardener is always the more successful gardener. During winter, nature goes through a special process. The plants, their roots and the soil don’t stop living, they go through a process that is essential to their living cycle. Disturbing this process may do more harm then good.
- Spring is when your lawn and soil are most sensitive. Simply walking on your lawn can damage the roots of your turfgrass as well as those of your plants. Furthermore, you can with a single step destroy millions of micro organisms essential to the health of your soil and plants. So, as long as your lawn remains mushy, you should keep off your yard.
- When you start working on your lawn too early, you tend to make your plants wake up early too. If you live in a region where the climate can hold surprises in the spring, you may be putting some plants at risk. A plant that has completely woken up when the weather suddenly plunges below zero may not make it through the cold spell.
By the way, don’t forget to also have a look at our Lawn care page.
What you should be doing first
Once it is clear that your lawn has dried out and started to wake up by itself, there are a number of things to do as part of a comprehensive spring lawn care program.
- Give your turf lawn a good racking. Anything that doesn’t belong on your lawn should be racked off and taken away. That includes dead leaves, branches, clearly visible weeds, dried out turf grass. As part of a good fall lawn care program, we recommend that you let dead leaves accumulate on your lawn in the fall and that you then mulch them on a beautiful fall day, when they are as dry as possible. This should break them up into very tiny pieces and create a very good spring fertilizer. Your spring racking should leave most of the mulched leaves on the ground, but remove the larger pieces.
- Your flower bed’s spring lawn care program should have a much gentler and careful approach. You don’t want to step on your favorite plants, nor do you want to uproot any perennials. In many cases, the hand is better than the rake or hand weeder when it comes to picking up and removing dead leaves and stocks from the flower bed. And cut off those dried out stocks, don’t pull on them.
- This will be your lawn’s first check up of the growing season. Pay attention to any visible damage.
- If you live in a region where salt is used on sidewalks during winter, your lawn may have suffered salt damage. Granular gypsum can fix those, as indicated on our page on green fertilizers.
- If you see plants that seem dead, give them a chance. Some plants take a very long time to wake up in the spring. The buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) is a good example. By the time its first buds starts appearing, some other plants already have leaves on them.
- If you see anything that looks suspicious, take a picture and ask a specialist, either at your favorite nursery or local botanical garden.
What you can do to improve your lawn
Letting nature do its work is good, but lending a helping hand can give you even better results. As long as your help doesn’t actually have a negative impact on nature. Below are a few spring lawn care ideas that will help both nature and your landscaping.
- Aerate your lawn to help water, nutrients and air penetrate the soil and get to the roots. See our page on lawn aeration. This also helps fight thatch.
- Loosen the soil in your flower bed. Using a hoe to till the surface soil will also help water penetration.
- Adding a mix of fresh top soil and compost will give your lawn and garden a welcome boost.
- More vigorous fertilization may also be considered starting in mid-spring. Having your soil tested is a very good idea, as it will tell you exactly what your soil needs or doesn’t need. If fertilization is indeed required, you should know there are many sustainable fertilization products available on the market today. Just make sure the product you choose is not only green on the surface. For more information on green and homemade fertilizers, see our page on this topic. You should choose a slow release, nitrogen rich fertilizer.
- Your spring lawn care program may also include weed control. If your turfgrass is dense, you may not need to worry about weeds now. If you have a known weed problem, the spring may be a good time to fight crabgrass. Products that prevent germination, such as corn gluten meal, can be used to stop crabgrass from germinating, but you must be aware of the fact that you will not be able to overseed your lawn for quite a while, since the corn gluten will also prevent turfgrass seed germination. Spring is not a good time to fight dandelions. You must wait until he plant is more active.
- Spring is a good time to overseed your lawn. Overseeding helps give you a strong and dense lawn, which helps in the fight against weeds. Just make sure that fertilization and weeding don’t burn your new seeds of prevent their germination.
- Of course, spring is the best time of year to add new bushes and trees to your landscaping. Annuals, of course, are also planted in late spring. Our page on landscaping plants will help you consider the vast array of plants to choose from.
With the help of a good spring lawn care program, you should have an amazing summer. Enjoy!