lawn mower close up

PREPPING THE LAWN FOR SPRING

It’s time for your lawn to rise and shine! It has been slumbering for months now, and if you prepped it adequately for the winter, it should be ready to roll here pretty soon. And even if you still have snow on the ground, this list has all the info you need to hit the ground running once the thaw begins.

Rake. And we’re not just talking about leaves here, although we’ll start with that. A good raking also loosens up built-up shoots, roots, and stems (also known as thatch) that keeps the soil underneath the grass from absorbing water and nutrients. Throw all the contents into the compost pile. (Don’t have a compost pile? Check out this page to get started!)

Aerate. Aeration is a process by which small plugs of soil are removed so that air, water, and nutrients get where they need to go. Over time and with lots of traffic, soil becomes hard and compressed, and thatch (see above) builds up. Aeration addresses this problem. The best time to aerate is in the spring as things start heating up — aerate cool season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue in early Spring, and warm season grasses like Bermuda grass and St. Augustine in late Spring.

Mow. Before resuming your mowing schedule in the Spring, be sure your mower blade is sharp, as a dull blade will rip rather that cut your grass. Aim for a grass height of 2.5”-3.5” (never remove more than 1/3 of the total height of your grass in one mowing), depending upon the variety of grass you have. The timing of the first Spring mowing is less about an actual date and more about how tall your grass has grown, so simply monitor the growth and plan accordingly.

Fertilize. Fertilize after the first mowing of the season, and use 1 pound of nitrogen fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of grass. Never use a “weed and feed” product, as the fertilizer in this type of product stimulates the very weed growth you want to get rid of. If you’ve had a crabgrass problem in the past, opt for a pre-emergent weed killer like corn meal gluten and follow the directions for application on the package.

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