Tuesday, March 15, 2016

10 Essential Spring Lawn Care Tips

Spring is in the air, but your lawn still has a bad case of the winter blues. What do you need to do to repair the inevitable damage done by cold temperatures and restore your outdoor landscape? Don’t let spring lawn preparation needs catch you off guard. These 10 spring lawn care tips will help ensure that your march into the growing season starts out on the right foot.



1. Make a Plan 
When the days begin to warm, it's tempting to just roll up your sleeves and get started on your yard work. However, it's smart to take a few moments and make a plan first. After all, certain steps work best if taken in a specific order. As your dormant grass begins to awaken, assess your yard, note any problem areas, and decide what you need to do and when you're going to do it.

2. Get Your Equipment Ready 
Don't wait until your grass is too tall to discover that your mower isn't ready. Check that everything is operational before it's time to mow. Dull blades tear the grass, making it more vulnerable to disease, so don't forget to sharpen the mower's blades. Spring is also a good time to check that irrigation systems are in working order and to make sure that gardening tools like rakes, shovels, trimmers, and wheelbarrows are all in good shape.

3. Clean Up Your Outdoor Space
When winter retreats, it often leaves debris like fallen leaves and branches behind. Pick them up and either dispose of them or compost them. Are dead patches of grass a problem? Remove them with a metal rake so that the spot will be ready for repair. Don't forget flowerbeds and borders. Clear away any dead foliage and rake up the mulch in areas where new plantings will be going in. If necessary, use a square-head shovel to edge the beds, creating a crisp line between them and nearby areas of grass.

4. Rake Your Entire Yard
Raking isn't just for removing autumn leaves. It's also an effective way to control the thatch buildup that can compromise the health of your yard. Before you mow or apply any sort of treatment to your yard in the spring, rake it. This will untangle matted areas and remove dead grass, making it easier for your grass to get the nutrients it needs to flourish. It also gives you another opportunity to spot troubled areas that might need special care.

5. Do a Soil Assessment
Good soil is essential to a healthy lawn, and having the proper pH will head off many common problems. Soil tests are inexpensive and widely available, so use one to check your soil and see if you need to add amendments. Don't be surprised if your soil comes back as acidic. That's a common result of winter weather, and it can easily be corrected by adding lime.

6. Address Bald Spots 
Whether they're caused by heavy foot traffic, animals, or something else, bare patches are a blemish on your yard. Overseeding with grass seed will fix these bald spots by establishing new grass. Populating these bare spots with grass will also prevent opportunistic weeds from gaining a foothold in your yard by crowding them out.

7. Feed Your Grass With Fertilizer 
Water is a strain on grass, but fertilizer replenishes the plant's resources, giving it the strength it needs to form the lush, green carpet people love. You can use organic fertilizers like compost or select a chemical fertilizer. It's important to note that if you needed to apply lime to correct the acidity levels of your soil, you should wait at least three weeks before fertilizing.

8. Stop Crabgrass and Weeds Before They Sprout
Spring is the perfect time to stop crabgrass and weeds before they sprout. Seize control of the situation by applying a pre-emergent herbicide or corn gluten to your yard. Make sure to avoid any spots where you overseeded. Herbicides can kill your new grass.

9. Prune Trees and Shrubs 
Cold temperatures and winter winds often do a number on trees and shrubs. Use a handsaw or hand pruners to trim away dead or damaged branches, pruning back to live stems. Being proactive keeps your plant healthier and more attractive, and taking branches down under controlled conditions means that you won't have to worry about them causing harm by falling on something.

10. Maintain Your Hardscaping 
When the subject of lawn care comes up, most people focus on their living landscaping, but hardscaping features like sidewalks and patios are also something to consider. An integral part of your outdoor spaces, these features can use a little care too. Reset heaved pavers, rake gravel and stone back into place, and refill joints between flagstones or pavers with sand or stone dust. If leaf stains or moss is an issue, use a pressure washer to cleanse the surfaces.

With the right spring lawn care routine, your yard will be refreshed and ready to flourish. Before you know it, you'll be savoring the warmth of the sun on your skin and the scent of freshly cut grass as you enjoy your outdoor living spaces.
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