Early spring is the time to think about the best way to help a winter-weary lawn recover and prepare for summer’s heat. Some simple steps now can help assure a healthy, thick, green lawn next summer.
- Clean Up. Clear away tree leaves, sticks and the litter that accumulates in the snowdrifts over the winter. Rake away dead grass.
- Get a Soil Test. Lawn experts recommend testing the soil about every three years to determine how much and what kind of fertilizer your grass needs.
- Re-Seed or Re-Sod. You may find that winter weather has killed grass in some places. To patch a bare spot with seed, mix soil and seed together in a pail, spread the mixture on bare spot and step lightly on it. Spring is not the best time to establish an entirely new lawn because seedlings will have to compete with weeds, but you do want to stop erosion on any bare spots.
- Wait to Fertilize. Many homeowners rush to apply fertilizer early, expecting to give their grass a head start. However, if you remembered to apply fertilizer last fall, you don’t need more in the spring. In addition, late fall fertilization is better for the lawn than a spring application because it encourages root growth.
- Mow. When the grass is about three inches high, you can begin mowing. Leave the clippings on the lawn to recycle nutrients – it’s the equivalent of one free fertilizer application after two years. Never mow your lawn shorter than 2.5 inches. Higher lawns mean deeper roots, and longer grass blades shade the soil and discourage weeds.
- Avoid Weed Killers. If you have many weeds in the lawn, there is something wrong with the way you are growing your lawn. Shade, poor drainage, lack of nutrients, and compacted soils create weak lawns and healthy weeds. Rather than use chemicals, fix the real problems.
Unless the lawn has several bare areas and is thin, wait until Memorial Day to fertilize. Too much fertilizer in the spring will cause the plants to make leaves instead of roots and without good roots, the lawn suffers more from summer drought. However, if the lawn is very thin, a dose of fertilizer will help it fill in and crowd out weeds.
All of this hard work will pay off because when summer comes, you will have a beautiful full green lawn.
Tags: spring lawn care