By Kath Johnson
Longer days and blossoming flowers of spring mean that it is time to prepare your lawn to spend more time outdoors. These lawn care tips can ensure that your lawn is lush and ready to go for the season and into the heat of summer.
Dethatch to rid your lawn of dying or dead grass. Lawns do well with less than a ½ inch of thatch, but will begin to suffocate if there's too much. A sturdy rake is often all you need to get the job done, but if you have a large yard or a lot debris (more than 1 inch of thatch), consider using a power rake. Dethatching can be rough on your lawn so make sure to do it in early spring to allow the grass to recover properly.
2. Check for Bare Patches
Winters can be tough on lawns, and grass seeds don't always survive the winter season. If you see thin or bare spots that were created by winter storms, you'll need to replant. Simply loosen up the soil with a rake and sprinkle grass seed to the affected area. Be sure to water the area regularly to make sure that the seedlings take to the ground. Also, be sure to clear your lawn of any winter debris or fallen limbs that may hinder grass growth.
3. Mow Early
It's time to break out the mower. Just don't wait too long. Letting the grass grow too long can cause stress and potentially damage the grass seed. On the other hand, you shouldn't cut the grass too short; grass seed does best when a mow takes no more than 1/3 of the total grass height off. If you aren't sure what height to mow at, consider doing a first mow at a higher cut level to get a good feel for what length your lawn would do best at. Check the suggested mowing heights for the grass seed in your lawn as they differ.
4. Aerate In Late Spring
Grass grows better in soil that isn't compacted down. Aerating your lawn loosens up the dirt and provides air and room for necessary nutrients to deeply penetrate the soil. There are many different tools on the market to help you aerate, the most popular one is the gas-powered aeration tool that leaves small tubes of soil all around the lawn. For smaller lawns, you can use manual push aerators or even aeration shoes that attach to your footwear. If you choose to aerate, be sure to do so in late spring so your lawn can heal before the arrival of summer.
Some of these measures, like aeration and dethatching take a bit of effort, but they're well worth it in creating a lush, green lawn. Spring is the best time to prepare your lawn for a vibrant growing season. With a little bit of extra care this time of year your lush lawn will be ready for outdoor living.
Kath Johnson is an avid gardener and regional representative for LawnStarter Lawn Care. When she's not tending to her organic vegetable garden, she can be found exploring nature by bike or boat.