The end of winter marks a favorite time for yard and garden enthusiasts. It’s the time of year when the beginning moments of spring lawn care provide the promise of a beautiful yard in the coming days and weeks.

This brief guide reviews the basics of spring lawn care, including when to start the essential chores that will lead to the results you want for your property.

When Should I Rake My Yard?

It’s better to avoid working or walking on your lawn until the spring thaw occurs. Once it happens, you’ll want to rake the grass thoroughly before mowing. This step loosens the matted clumps that form while removing some of the unwanted thatch.

It’s better to use spring tine rakes for this work to prevent damage from occurring. Try to work when the soil is firm instead of muddy or soft to avoid pulling up grass crowns.

When Should I Aerate the Soil?

A core aerator works to reduce thatch and relieve the effects of compaction in the spring. Cool season grass varieties benefit from this work in the early spring, while those that thrive in warmer weather need the job done in April or May.

Most lawns only need aeration once per year. If you don’t use it much, it might be possible to perform this task every other year.

When Should I Fertilize My Lawn?

It works best to apply a spring fertilizer to your lawn about three weeks after you notice it turning green.

If the lawn was already green, wait until the second or third mowing before applying an appropriate fertilizer. When you complete this task too early, you increase the risk of runoff or feeding your weeds instead.

It helps to water the lawn a few days before applying the fertilizer for the best results. Don’t forget to use a crabgrass preventer if you have that issue in your yard.

When Should I Seed and Lime the Lawn?

You can plant grass seed in the bare spots of your lawn right away in the early spring. It often helps to apply slow-release nitrogen fertilizer during this chore to encourage growth and greenness.

Most grass varieties grow better when the soil pH is between 6.0 and 7.0. If your property is too acidic, you’ll see more weeds, moss, and disease issues. A soil testing kit can let you know what adjustments are needed, including lime, to encourage a more robust growing season.

When Should I Mow the Lawn?

The best time to mow the lawn for the first time in the spring is when the ground is dry enough to cut, and the grass is long enough to justify the work. Try not to mow too low because that step encourages more sunlight to reach the soil, encouraging weeds to germinate.

Lawns usually require more attention in the spring and less at the end of the growing season. By following these steps, you’ll get your seasonal chores started on the right foot.


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