This is a guest post by Brian Rees.
It’s that time of year again, but do you know how to prepare your yard for spring?
With the warmer months fast approaching and the frost making its way out, the time has come to prepare your yard for the upcoming seasons.
Whether it is your first time getting a lawn ready for spring or you have lost count over the years, the general tips and methods remain the same. In this post, we will walk you through some of the time-tested steps for prepping your yard for the warm weather.
During the cooler months of fall and winter, leaves fill the lawn and require some raking to keep things under control. As spring gets closer, it is crucial to clear out any thatch, stray leaves, or other debris that has collected in the yard. Thatch can create a barrier between the water, air, nutrients, and sunlight and the growing grass underneath, making it more difficult to get your lawn what it needs to remain healthy.
After that, it is only a matter of waiting for the ground to thaw out and dry before committing to any serious yard work. If you are not quite sure whether your yard will need any additional nutrients for the upcoming season, having a soil test conducted can tell you if any are necessary and what kind should be used.
Aerate the Soil (If Necessary)
Over time, soil can become compacted and restrict the flow of air and nutrients to the growing greenery. To combat this, using a machine to aerate will pull plugs of soil out of the earth, allowing for air, nutrients, and any treatment materials to make their way through the ground to the roots that need them.
If a particular area happens to receive more foot traffic than others, additional aeration may be required. While it is recommended to aerate your lawn every 1-3 years, aerating at least once a year if possible will help keep your yard in top shape year in and year out.
Also, if your yard has any patches or sections that seem thin or haven’t grown in as well, reseeding after aeration will help fill these spots in (but be wary of reseeding before using any herbicides).
Get Ahead of Common Problems
So you’ve given your lawn some breathing room – now what? When it comes to the usual suspects of lawn issues, it is always better to be proactive as opposed to reactive. Weeds and other unsightly plants not only break up the uniform look of your lawn, but they also soak up any nutrients or water meant for your healthy, growing grass and plants. Maintaining some level of control over them can make quite the difference in the health of your yard.
To step in before this becomes a problem, it is best to apply any pre-emergent herbicides after aeration. By waiting until after aeration to apply the pre-emergent, you increase the herbicide’s reach and ultimately its effect on any weeds waiting to make their appearance. With the weeds under control and out of the way early on, you can then shift your focus toward giving your growing lawn the attention and care it needs.
After applying the necessary pre-emergent treatments, the next stop is fertilization. While fertilizer is important to the growth of any lawn, it is just as important to know when you should be fertilizing and how much of it is actually needed.
If your lawn is made up of cool-season grasses, fertilizing the fall season prior will set you up for success after a light touch-up in the spring. For warm-season grasses, it is best to wait until the weather is consistently warm and the grasses are in their prime growing time to avoid any frost-related incidents during the spring season.
When choosing what kind to use, it is best to go with a mixture of both fast-release and slow-release fertilizers. By doing this, you ensure that your lawn gets the nutrients it needs to kickstart the growing process while maintaining a steady supply to aid in continued growth during the coming months. Remember – using too much fertilizer could lead to overgrowth or burning of the grass, so make sure to monitor use appropriately.
Mulch is a Must
With a majority of the growing lawn taken care of after aeration and fertilization, you can now turn your attention to the larger plants and flowers growing and living alongside your green grass. Maintaining their health and growth will ensure that your yard has a healthy, vibrant look throughout the entire growing season.
As the months start to heat up, spreading mulch around the base of any plants will be integral to keeping them healthy and safe from the suns beneficial, yet harmful rays. You can make your own mulch at home if you happen to own a shredder or wood chipper, or you can shop around at any local home and gardening stores for a wide selection of the earthy, nutritious mix.
You may have noticed that watering the lawn hasn’t quite come up until now. With the amount of showers that can come with the spring season, experts advise to wait until the warmer, drier months to commit to watering the lawn. By waiting to water, you encourage the grass roots to reach deeper into the soil, which will help in the worst days of the summer. When the time comes, watering in the morning as opposed to the afternoon allows any excess moisture to dry throughout the day.
Healthy, growing grass requires mowing as it reaches the preferred height, and getting a clean cut is important to the prolonged health of each green blade. As such, it is just as important to make sure your lawn mower blade is sharp enough or replaced if necessary.If blades of grass come out frayed or shredded apart, the mower blade may need some work.
With the yard now well-prepared for the upcoming spring, you can enjoy quality time outside on a healthy, green lawn with friends and family. Remember to mow high and frequently to keep from damaging the grass, and know that good lawn preparation for the spring can make a big difference when the heat and dryness of the impending summer come into play.
Brian Rees is a media relations representative for Bradley Mowers. In his spare time, he enjoys writing, music, and spending time outside.