Winter is finally over and spring is here! Our lawns are waking up from winter dormancy and they are hungry. Now is the time to really get a head start on your spring lawn care to set a foundation of health that can be carried throughout the rest of the year. If you’re looking to get that lush, healthy lawn then spring is a critical time. As your lawn prepares for the growing season there are several steps that you can take to get your lawn ready to thrive this spring and throughout the rest of the year. If you follow the On The Green Spring Lawn Care Checklist, you’ll have your lawn ready to thrive in no time!
The first step to getting your lawn ready for spring is with some spring cleaning. Lawn debris like sticks, branches, leaves, or anything else that you find lying on your lawn will set your lawn up to fail. That’s not what we want.
If left out on your lawn, this debris will create a perfect environment for:
- Lawn pests like grubs, armyworms, and billbugs which can cause significant damage to your lawn. This lawn debris is also the perfect home for fleas and ticks which can carry a plethora of dangerous diseases and parasites.
- Lawn diseases like and snow mold, spring dead spot, brown spot, dollar spot, or fairy ring. These lawn diseases can be present on your lawn without even being noticed, causing extensive damage.
Spring cleaning should be your first step in getting your lawn ready for the spring. This will help you set your lawn up for success and create a healthy environment for your lawn to start growing again. While you’re cleaning, make sure to check if the exterior of your home needs any attention. Clean out the gutters, check for any cracks or gaps in the siding, and make sure to check your caulking so you can keep those outdoor pests right where they belong, outdoors. You should also take the time to empty out any standing water around your property as these are mosquito breeding grounds!
Now that your lawn is nice and clean on top, it’s time to focus on what’s going on underneath. Thatch is a beneficial layer of decomposing grass clippings, dead grass roots, and yard debris that settles down at the base of your grass, right at the soil level.
Having a thin layer of thatch is great for your lawn and provides benefits like:
- Providing insulation from temperature fluctuations to your grass roots and crowns.
- Slowing the loss of water.
- Protecting your soil from overheating.
- Making your lawn more tolerant of foot traffic.
If your lawn has too much of a thatch buildup then you could run into some problems. Too much thatch means your grass isn’t getting access to all of the nutrients that it needs to grow strong and beautiful.
Signs that your lawn has too much thatch include:
- Check if your lawn feels spongy when you walk on it. You may need to feel it with your hands.
- Measure it with a ruler. If your thatch is more than ¾ inch thick then you may need to break it up a bit.
- Do a wedge test. Using a trowel or shovel, cut out a small section of your turf. Make sure you go down into the soil. Pull the wedge out and you’ll have a perfect cross-section of your lawn. You’ll be able to see exactly how thick your thatch is. If it’s more than ¾ inch then it’s time to break it up.
A great way to eliminate a thatch problem in your lawn is with a thatching rake. A thatching rake is a rake with sharp tips that are used to tear the thatch out. Make sure to do this when your lawn is dry, as walking around on a wet lawn can cause even more problems for your turf. Use your thatch rake to re-rake your grass just like you would if you were raking leaves. Once you’ve loosened up that layer of thatch, remove it and water your grass!
Nothing ruins the look and feel of a lawn quite like weeds. Whether it’s crabgrass, dandelions, or anything in between, it’s best to get ahead of these weeds before they get ahead of you. A great way to control weeds in your lawn is with pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides.
Pre-emergent herbicides are best used in the early spring when the soil temperatures are below 55 degrees and the weeds haven’t started germinating. Pre-emergents form a protective barrier in your soil that will make it difficult for weeds to take root and start to grow. They are a great way to protect your lawn from weeds before they start to appear. Unfortunately, pre-emergent herbicides don’t work on weeds that have already sprouted. For already established weeds, you’ll need to use a post-emergent herbicide.
If you’re seeing weeds popping up in your lawn then a post-emergent herbicide is the way to go. Spray these herbicides directly on the weeds in your yard. The herbicide will systematically attack the weeds’ root systems, resulting in total elimination and a weed-free yard.
When looking for a post-emergent herbicide There are two different types of post-emergent herbicides, each proving its own benefits. They are:
- Systematic herbicides – Most effective at controlling perennial weeds. The chemicals get absorbed into the weeds, destroying both the visible and invisible portions of the target weed. A light watering is recommended following a systematic herbicide application (to aid in absorption).
- Contact herbicides – Most effective at controlling annual weeds. They kill the weeds on contact, making it impossible for the plant to continue to receive essential nutrients for growth and germination.
After Weeds Arrive: Pull Them
Pulling weeds is one of the most tedious tasks of spring lawn care, but it’s very effective. Simply walking through your lawn and landscape and hand-pulling any weeds you see. Keep in mind, when you hand-pull the weeds, you have to ensure the roots get pulled as well or else the weed will be back in no time.
Waiting for a wet day can help, as damp soil makes the weeds and their root systems easier to pull. If you pull the weed but miss the root, use a gardening tool to dig deep and remove the entirety of the weed’s roots, otherwise the weed will keep growing back.
Now You’re Ready for Spring Lawn Care!
By following these four spring lawn care steps, your lawn is now ready to thrive this spring! If you’re to get started with a lawn care program that’ll keep your lawn lush and healthy all year long, look no further than On The Green. Our team of experts has the knowledge and experience to give your lawn that extra boost this spring and, with our lawn care services, will give you that beautiful lawn that you’ve been waiting for!