How you treat your lawn in the springtime sets you up for a thick, healthy summer lawn. To get your lawn off to a good spring start, try these things once the ground has thawed:
- Clean up winter’s leftovers. Use a rake to remove dead grass, leaves and sticks, and any other debris that built up throughout the winter. This is called “dethatching,” and it clears the way for your grass to grow in healthily.
- Deal with weeds early. Tackle weeds right off the bat, before they get summer-strong. Weeding by hand can damage the roots of your grass and even spread dormant seeds, leading to more weeds in the long run. Instead, spot treat with a weed killer.
- Mow high. During this season, starting to mow can encourage grass to grow — but it’s a bad idea to trim it too short. This can lead to weak roots and thin grass.
- Fertilize. Late spring is the time to nourish your lawn’s roots with some fertilizer to prepare it for the growing season. What type of fertilizer you should use will depend on your grass type, as well as the pH of your soil.
Summer is your lawn’s time to shine, and your opportunity to reap the rewards of your springtime hard work! But if you’re not careful, pests, heat, and weeds could put a damper on the season.
- Avoid broad-spectrum insecticides. These will often mean dousing your lawn in unnecessary chemicals. Instead, learn about what pests are common in your region and take action specific to those insects.
- Mow often and incrementally. You should never be cutting off more than a third of the complete length of the grass. Cutting your lawn too short destroys the protective canopy that keeps out weeds and shields your lawn from the harsh sun.
- Time your watering correctly. How much water your lawn needs is dependent on the region, type of grass, and temperature, but overall it’s best to thoroughly soak the lawn once a week rather than giving it smaller waterings multiple times. Watering early in the morning minimizes moisture loss through evaporation.
As summer winds down, this is your time to prepare your lawn for winter. Taking the right steps in the fall can make the difference between grass that comes vibrantly back to life in the spring, and grass that wakes up from winter still carrying last year’s problems.
- Now is the time to seed. Whether you need to over-seed to thicken up a thin lawn, or just fill in bare patches, there’s no better time to reseed.
- Keep leaves off. In the fall, your grass needs as much sun as it can get. Rake regularly to ensure that dead leaves aren’t blocking that all-important sunlight from reaching your lawn.
- Mow short. Long grass has advantages in the hot summer, but in winter it can lead to snow mold and matted grass. Mow your lawn shorter in the fall, and keep mowing until the grass stops growing.
- Winterize. Your grass needs the right nutrients to keep it hardy through the cold season. Winterizing fertilizer will give your lawn the tools it needs to develop sturdy roots and survive the winter.
Your grass is dormant during the winter, but you still have work to do! This is your time to prepare for the next year of lawn care.
- Learn from your mistakes. Did you learn any hard lessons this year? Make sure you don’t repeat the same mistakes next year. Feel free to take lawn care notes if you’re worried you’ll forget by the time spring rolls around.
- Clean and store lawn equipment. Make sure your mower your blades are sharpened and your lawn care tools are clean and oiled before you store them for the winter. That way, they’ll be ready for spring.
- Leave your lawn alone. Frozen grass can break easily, so try to avoid walking or otherwise damaging your dormant lawn throughout the season.
It may seem like a lot of work, but a beautiful lawn is more than just grass: It’s a key part of your home. If you care for it properly, you’ll be rewarded with a healthy, beautiful lawn year round.