As the snow continues to melt and the weather gets warmer, it’s important to begin thinking about your lawn and what needs to be done to get it looking amazing this summer. While we’ve certainly got some time till summer, there’s plenty of little things you can do now to not only prep your lawn to look its greenest and healthiest, but also save yourself from having to do a ton of extra work further down the road.
Here’s 5 easy spring lawn care tips that will make your lawn stunning in the summer.
1) Core Aeration
Core aeration is one of the most effective and widely-used ways of prepping your lawn for the summer season. Core aeration involves using a machine to punch tiny holes into your lawn. The benefits of core aeration include loosening soil to give grass roots room to grow, giving air and oxygen more access to your roots, and creating pockets where water and other nutrients can collect at the root level. All of these things lead to greener, healthier lawns and best of all, you only have to do it once during the spring for your lawn to reap massive benefits.
As a rule of thumb, starting lawn season the same you ended it (with raking) is never a bad idea. Raking your lawn allows you to remove any thatch and dead leaves from the surface, exposing it to air, oxygen, and nutrients. Additionally, raking your lawn lets you spot dead patches of grass early on so that you can address them immediately. When you’re raking, it’s important to be gentle, your lawn is still waking up and raking too aggressively might compact the grass or kill some early shoots.
3) Seeding Bare Areas
After you’ve raked your lawn, the bare spots should become pretty visible. Seeding bare areas now will give your lawn the head start it needs to look full and healthy just in time for the summer. You’ll want to do a bit of research on your lawn’s grass type to determine exactly what seeds to use and in what amounts. Seeding bare areas is most effective when it is combined with core aeration.
4) The First Mow
The first lawn mow after winter is vital to the success of your lawn in the spring and summer months, so it’s important that you get it right as there are some specific height requirements for the first mow. Because taller grass can compete better with weeds and provides shade which helps with water retention, it’s generally a good idea to mow a little bit taller than usual during spring when your lawn is just beginning to grow and recuperate from the chilly winter months.
Here are the recommended lawn heights for various grass species according to How Stuff Works Home & Garden Section.
- Common bermudagrass: 1-2 inches (2.5-5 centimeters)
- Fescue: 2-3.5 inches (5-9 centimeters)
- Kentucky bluegrass: 2-3.5 inches (5-9 centimeters)
- St. Augustine: 2-4 inches (5-10 centimeters)
- Zoysia: 0.5-1.5 inches (1-4 centimeters)
5) Apply fertilizer
While most common grass species need the majority of their annual fertilizer in the fall, you can begin to lightly fertilize your lawn in the spring to give it some extra nutrients. Be sure to use fertilizer sparingly as over fertilizing might damage the roots or stunt their proper development. According to better-lawn-care.com, you should apply less than ½ lb. Nitrogen/1000 ft2 in the late spring season.