Spring marks the start to a new growing season. It's time to get out there and tackle some lawn basics to set you and your grass up for success. Putting in a little extra work now is going to mean less time and money spent later on trying to rescue your lawn. Do what you can to build a strong lawn foundation this spring, it's worth it.
Remove any leaves or debris on the lawn. A light raking will do. This will allow for better soil warm up and ensure enough sunlight reaches your grass.
Fill in your lawn. Patching bare spots and overseeding will help prevent weed growth and will give you a thick, full lawn. Tall Fescue should be overseeded once a year. Other cool season grasses are more flexible, but annual overseeding is a good habit to get into for a healthy lawn that crowds out weeds.
Start with a sprinkler walk after the last frost. Make sure all sprinkler heads are working, reaching their target range, and aren’t blocked by plant growth or debris. Keep an eye on your sprinklers as the season goes on to stay on top of any problems.
Dull mower blades tug on grass roots and stress grass blades out. Plus, a well-sharpened mower blade will chop grass clippings finely, making for easy decomposition to enrich the soil. That’s if you’re grass-cycling, if you aren’t you should definitely check it out (free nutrients!). For an average lawn, blades should be sharpened every six months. Why not start with spring.
Young weeds are weaker and easier to tackle than grown up weeds. Whether you are pulling them out or spot-treating, early weed control is cheaper and less time consuming. Spring is a great time to get in the habit of looking out for weeds. We know some folks who do a daily weed walk through their yard. A few times a month would probably go a long way too.
If your soil is compact and it’s affecting your grass’ ability to grow, Spring is a good time to aerate cool season lawns. Aeration helps compacted soils (often clay heavy) to allow oxygen, water, and nutrients to penetrate past the topsoil and reach the root zone. The majority of lawns don’t need aeration.
Warm season grass should wait until summer when temperatures are in the 80s to low 90s.
Lawn problems usually can be reduced greatly when they are spotted early. Spending regular time in your lawn making observations can help you stay ahead of lawn issues.
Just like in elementary science class, observing the subject (your lawn) for changes is the key to understanding how it works and what it needs. It’s tough because we humans like to “do” things – spray, pull, pump, chop. But observation is the cornerstone of managing your land as an ecosystem. As you watch your grass and soil interact with the elements, you’ll gain understanding around how your unique plot of land works. These experiences build your lawn intuition and know how, so you can keep things balanced.