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As with most landscaping projects, success depends on getting a head start before the growing season is in full swing. So, if you want to grow a healthy, green lawn this summer, you need to start the prep work in the spring.
💡These general guidelines are suitable for most climates, but for advice specific to your area, contact a local landscaper or university extension office.
For almost any lawn, the best procedure is to renovate and aerate in late summer around Labor Day. If you missed that deadline, then in the spring you should stick to the basics to get the lawn through the summer and then hit hard when Labor Day passes.
Here are six simple steps to getting your lawn ready for spring so you can have a lush yard all summer long.
🧰 First, fill your toolbox
Step 1️⃣: focus
Make sure your lawnmower is ready for the summer lawn mowing season with an early spring tune-up: replace spark plug, change oil, grease fittings, install new filter air, clean the carburetor, clean the underside of the mower deck and sharpen the blades.
Also adjust your trimmer and make sure you have enough trimmer line on hand for the coming summer.
Step 2️⃣: Clean
Winter can wreak havoc on your lawn, so start early in the spring by cleaning up all debris strewn across the yard, including twigs, acorns, rocks, branches, leaf litter, thatch and leaves. dead. Use a leaf rake to gather the debris into piles, then rake the piles onto a large tarp. The tarp makes it easy to transport or move debris off the lawn.
Just be sure to wait for the soil to dry out a bit before cleaning the yard. Walking on a soggy lawn can compact the soil and damage soft grass shoots.
Step 3️⃣: Counteract weed growth
To keep weeds from invading your lawn this summer, apply a pre-emergence herbicide in the spring. It’s a way to feed your lawn. Think of it like giving the lawn antibiotics. This type of weed killer is formulated to prevent weed seeds from germinating, which will significantly reduce the numbers of crabgrass, dandelions and other weeds.
Most pre-emergence herbicides are effective for about three months, so you will need to reapply some during the summer. By the way, whether you live in the north or the south, both cool season and warm season grasses will benefit from a spring application of a pre-emergence weedkiller.
Step 4️⃣: Fertilize
What you treat your lawn with is very important. To get off to a good start, apply fertilizer in the spring. And for best results, use a slow-release fertilizer. Its vital nutrients break down over a long period of time, so you won’t have to reapply the fertilizer so often; in most cases, you can wait six to eight weeks between applications.
You can check with a local nursery for the most appropriate type of lawn fertilizer for your area, but most lawns do well with a 20-5-10 fertilizer, which means it contains 20% nitrogen, 5% phosphate and 10% potassium.
Step 5️⃣: Fill in bare areas
If your lawn has bare or bald areas, treat those areas with grass seed in the spring to ensure they fill in with grass in the summer. Scrape and loosen the soil with a garden rake, then shake an even layer of seeds over the area. Rake the seeds lightly into the soil, water well and cover loosely with hay to discourage foraging birds and prevent rain from washing away the seeds. You should start seeing small grass sprouts in two to three weeks, depending on the weather.
It should be noted that you can treat bare spots with regular grass seed, but most seed manufacturers make specially formulated mixtures specifically designed for fast-growing grass on bald, bare lawns. They are sold under different names, such as Patch-and-Repair Mix or Lawn Repair Seed Mix.
Step 6️⃣: Take a step back
When it’s time to mow your lawn for the first time of the year, mid to late spring in most areas, raise the mower deck to its highest setting. This will usually cut the grass about three or four inches high. Cutting grass too short, especially at first, can weaken grasses in early spring, causing stunted growth and dull color.
⚠️ For all mowing during the rest of spring and summer, remember this rule: never cut more than a third of the height of the blades of grass at a time.
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