How to Care for Your Lawn in the Spring

By: Beth Krietsch

Few things seem to get people as excited as the transition from winter to spring. The sun is a bit stronger, the animals are out and about, the plants are budding, and everyone seems to be buzzing with energy. Spring is a prime time to get your lawn in top shape. Here’s a simple guide to help you manage spring lawn care.

Dethatch

Early spring is an important time to rake your lawn to remove thatch, which is the layer of slow-decaying organic matter that sits between the soil surface and your grass or plants. Though beneficial for insulation when it’s a half-inch thick or less, deeper layers of thatch can lead to problems like pests and reduced oxygen to the roots of plants. Keep your lawn’s thatch layer under control by raking with either a normal lawn rake or a thatch rake.

Weed

Weeding may not be the most fun landscaping task, but it’s definitely important. Late spring is an important time to remove weeds before they have the chance to grow more wildly out of control in the summer. Besides pulling weeds manually, some apply herbicide or use natural alternatives like vinegar, soaps, and oils.

Seed

Early spring is a good time to throw down some grass seed on your lawn, especially if it’s looking bare or has dead patches. This is a great way to make sure your lawn is healthy and looking in top shape when summer rolls around. But keep in mind that you’ll need to remember to water it regularly throughout the summer.

Growing grass

Water

Even though the sun typically isn’t blasting down yet this time of year, it’s important not to neglect watering, especially if you’ve recently seeded your lawn. If you don’t have a built-in irrigation system, a simple rotating sprinkler on a timer will get the job done just fine.

Aerate

Aeration loosens the soil, which improves drainage and air circulation and allows plants to absorb more nutrients. Late spring tends to be a good time to take on this landscaping task. If you don’t own an aerator, you can often rent one at a gardening supply store. Spiked aeration shoes also work, but may not be the wisest choice if your lawn is large. See the House Method guide on lawn aeration to learn more.

Check soil pH levels

You’ll want to test your soil in the spring to make sure it’s neither too acidic or too basic. Most soil test kits are pretty simple to use and can be purchased online or from store that sells gardening products. Sometimes you can also have soil samples tested through a local cooperative extension.

Mulch

Add mulch to your gardens in the mid- to late-spring as a way to nurture growth and minimize the presence of weeds. You can buy mulch from a garden center or even use grass clippings and leaves you’ve saved from the previous fall.

A sprinkler head spraying water on a fresh green lawn.

Mow

In the early spring, adjust mower blades to a setting that leaves the grass fairly tall, depending on the specific variety of grass. As the season progresses you’ll need to mow more frequently, and will also probably adjust blades for a closer trim. Don’t bother raking up the grass trimmings after every mow—you can usually leave the clippings as a healthy, nutrient-rich mulch.

Tune up for summer lawn care

Spring is an important time to make sure your lawn mower, hedge cutters, and other frequently used landscaping supplies are ready to go for the summer season. At the beginning of spring you should make sure that your mower blades are sharp, the spark plugs are working, and add a fresh supply of gas and oil. Also be sure to check that your hoses and irrigation systems are functioning properly after the harsh winter months. If there are any issues, now is an ideal time to get things repaired before summer.

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