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Lawn Care Secrets: How to Prepare Your Yard for Spring

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Many homeowners and gardeners wait until late spring or the start of summer before getting the lawn in good condition. To ensure a healthy and vibrant lawn, you should be maintaining it all year round and start preparing it in early spring. Having a well-maintained garden throughout the year will mean you can spend more time relaxing when the sun is shining. We have put together some advice for those looking to get a head start on the perfect spring lawn.

Getting Started

Many lawns get neglected in the winter months as we use it far less, and most naturally lose interest in maintaining it. Before you start preparing the grass for the summer remove all leaves and debris which may have accumulated. Any children’s toys should have been kept off the lawn in wintertime as dead spots will appear when the grass cannot get consistent light. Before getting the lawn mower out, you should re-define the grass edges and break up compacted soil on the flower beds around the lawn. 

Let the Lawn Breathe

A common problem a gardener will need to address is thatching, and this is when dead stems and grass has compacted and acts as a thatch roof over the soil. Thatching will severely hinder the grass’ ability to breathe and get sunlight. You can get a specific tool from a garden centre so you can lightly rake the thatch off without causing harm to the grass. Keeping control of thatching is crucial for a healthy lawn. Eliminating the thatch in early spring will give the lawn the best chance of being healthy and vibrant when you start to sit outside in warmer times. 

Seed Sparse Areas

During times when the ground is cold, wet and having regular frost, the grass will go into a hibernation mode. When grass is in hibernation mode it will not seed so every lawn will suffer from some sparse areas that will need reseeding. Before scattering seed make sure you have removed the thatch build up and have mowed the yard, so the seed won’t be in the shadows. Choosing what grass seed to grow will depend on where you live and how you use your lawn. Never start to seed a lawn if there is still a risk of frost or if heavy rain is forecast. 

Regular Mowing

In the summertime, it is a common sight to see everyone mowing their lawns; in cooler times we tend to overlook mowing. The types of people who are keen to mow their lawns are intriguing, men turn out to be less inclined to mow as they get older, but women show the opposite trait. Those ladies and gentlemen who do want an attractive summer lawn should start rolling up their sleeves when the grass is dry, and regularly trim if the lawn is dry enough for a mower to cut. In the springtime, heavy rainfall can be a common occurrence so do not cut the grass too short, check your packaging for guidelines. As the temperatures rise you can start to lower the cut height a little as long grass in hot spells will dry out and die very quickly. 

Give Grass a Drink

Watering your lawn is not just for the warm times; grass needs a drink all year round. For many, the watering aspect is catered for naturally with rainfall in autumn through to spring. High winds and a few dry days can mean you will need to start helping with watering the lawn. Don’t get the hosepipe out until you have fixed the issues mentioned above, watering before getting the lawn ready will not support the growth of the grass. The type of grass, your location and weather conditions will determine how much you should water the grass. If there is no rainfall it is good practice to water every few days – don’t soak the grass, just give it a good drink. 

Fertilizing Before Summer

Knowing when, or if, to fertilize a lawn is a contentious issue in the horticultural community. In early spring your grass is focussed on developing its roots systems and use all the resources to achieve that. When we add fertilizer, we are asking the grass to concentrate on blade growth so fertilizing too early may damage the roots systems. Wait until late spring before using any fertilizer as this is when the grass will start to use its energy to promote blade growth, only one dose of fertilizer will be enough. Using fertilizer before the rain will help to circulate the nutrients down to the roots for the grass to feed on. 

By paying attention to what your lawn needs you can limit the workload and have more time to enjoy the garden. When weeds pop up, it should be taken care of promptly rather than letting it spread across the lawn. Keep bikes, toys and other garden furniture off the grass when not in use to prevent dead spots. Mowing the lawn should be done as late as possible before winter and as soon as it is dry enough in spring. By following these few common-sense suggestions, you can have a garden that is safe and enjoyable for the family to enjoy, weather permitting.

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