Your lawn is one of the first things guests see when they come to visit, and also one of the first things you see every morning when you go outside. A healthy lawn adds a positive note to your home’s first impression, but a scraggly, patchy lawn can be a real eyesore. This winter has been difficult all around, including for your lawn. Help it start spring out the right way, so you can enjoy its lush greenness all summer! Read on to get our 5 best spring lawn care tips.
No, raking isn’t just for autumn! According to landscaping expert David Beaulieu, removing excess thatch from your lawn in the spring is key if you want a healthy lawn this summer. Thatch is dead grass that has fallen out and lies between the soil and the live grass, and too much thatch will prevent your lawn from thriving. Beaulieu says that raking also loosens up areas of matted grass, and removes dead grass blades before they have the chance to become thatch.
2. Check for Soil Compaction
In order for your lawn to thrive, the soil needs to be dense enough to hold the grass’s roots, but not so tightly compacted that it prevents water and nutrients from penetrating to the roots adequately. HowStuffWorks.com describes a simple test to see if your lawn’s soil has become too compacted: poke an old dinner fork into the ground. If the tines can’t penetrate at least 2 inches into the ground, then the soil is too compacted. If this is the case, free up your soil with a lawn aerator.
3. Correct pH Problems
Grass grows well with a neutral soil pH. If your soil becomes too acidic, however, moss can start to take over and your grass will start dying off. While Wet & Forget Outdoor is the perfect solution for getting rid of moss on outdoor surfaces, the only way to take care of this problem in your grass is to fix the pH problem.
Landscaping expert David Beaulieu recommends sending a soil sample to your local county extension to have the pH checked. Applying lime to your lawn with a garden spreader will make the soil more alkaline (less acidic) and bring the pH back to neutral, and your county extension can advise you on how much lime to apply once they have checked the soil pH. Be sure to follow their recommendation, because too much lime will make the soil too alkaline, which will also kill your lawn.
4. Correct Low Spots
Low spots in your lawn can cause drainage problems that can lead to brown spots or bald spots. Fall rains followed by the winter freeze-thaw cycle can create low spots, so the spring is a perfect time to eliminate the problem.
Check your lawn for any big dips in soil level, peel up the turf from that area, fill it in with soil until it’s level with the rest of the lawn, replace the turf, and water it. This is also a good time to check your lawn’s grading, which can also be affected during the winter. Proper grading will make rainwater run away from your home’s foundation, but improper grading can lead to a wet basement with a mold and mildew problem, or even a cracked foundation. Click here for instructions.
5. Seed Bald Spots
Grass seeds germinate best at around 65 degrees Fahrenheit, so spring is often the perfect time to seed dead or bald areas in your lawn, such as those caused by the low spots discussed above.
Wait until daytime temperatures in your area are consistently 65 degrees and above, and seed your lawn. Click here for detailed lawn seeding information from the Iowa State University Extension, and here for detailed lawn seeding instructions courtesy of This Old House.
Photos courtesy of Erin Buonocore.