Creating a beautiful lawn from spring to fall starts with preparation. Continue reading to learn how to prep your lawn now, so it’s ready for the spring growing season.
What are the benefits of preparing my lawn for spring?
Several benefits come from preparing your lawn for spring, with one of the main ones being a healthy, lush lawn all season. Evaluating and providing proper nutrients, water, and care in the spring will promote healthy growth as your grass emerges from its dormant season.
What steps do I need to take to prepare my lawn for spring?
You can prepare your lawn for spring in 6 simple steps. Take the time to go through each step carefully and set yourself up for a lawn you will enjoy all year.
A clean slate is the best place to start when preparing for spring. Grab your rake or blower to clean up the debris from fall and winter. Dead leaves and twigs make your lawn look less appealing and can hinder growth and get in the way when it is time to mow.
A thorough soil assessment is essential to giving your lawn what it needs for a healthy start. A good soil assessment will include checking your soil moisture, testing the soil pH, evaluating soil texture, checking for compaction, and assessing nutrient levels.
- Soil moisture: To check your soil moisture, you will need to dig a small hole approximately 6 inches deep, then squeeze the soil sample to see if it feels moist or dry. If the soil is dry, your lawn needs watering, but if the soil is wet, it might need better drainage.
- Soil pH: The ideal soil pH for lawns is between 6.0 and 7.0. To test your soil pH, you can use a soil testing kit, usually found at a local gardening store, or you can send it to a lab for testing.
- Soil texture: Depending on your soil texture, your lawn could be draining too quickly or holding water too long, ultimately determining how well your lawn grows. The ideal soil texture for lawns is a mixture of silt, sand, and clay, known as loam soil.
- Compaction: Soil compaction limits the oxygen available for root growth and water infiltration. Compact soil can be resolved by aerating. To know if your lawn is too compact, take a screwdriver and push it into the soil. If it is difficult to push into the soil, your lawn is compact and needs to be aerated.
- Nutrients: The primary nutrients needed to grow a healthy, green lawn are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. A simple soil testing kit can test your lawn's current nutrient levels to help you determine fertilizer needs.
As your lawn returns to life in the spring, you may notice some bare or sparse growth spots. While fall seeding is easier, it does not mean you can't address these areas in the spring. Seed any required areas, but make sure you water and weed adequately while it is starting to grow.
When applying lawn fertilizer in the spring, choose a slow-release fertilizer and apply it lightly. The ideal time to apply spring fertilizer will be about three weeks after your lawn starts to come out of dormancy, or you can wait a little longer and apply after the second or third mowing. As always, read and follow fertilizer label instructions when applying yourself.
Controlling weed growth limits grass from competing for water and nutrients. If your lawn is badly overgrown with weeds, a pre-emergent herbicide application might be worth considering. Pre-emergent herbicides are generally applied across the entire lawn. This herbicide forms a chemical barrier across the top layer of soil to coat and prevent seeds from growing. If you are seeding your lawn in the spring, you will not want to apply a pre-emergent herbicide.
Post-emergent herbicides are a common practice and usually consist of spot treatment. Rather than spraying the entire lawn as with a pre-emergent, you will spray only where weeds are present. While it may sound more time-consuming, post-emergent spot treatment is manageable, only taking a few minutes after you mow.
Knowing the right time for the first cutting is essential to your lawn's health and growth. A general rule is to wait for the first cutting until the grass is at least 3 inches tall. Mowing before the roots are well developed can damage and shock your grass, making it harder to have a nice-looking lawn all season.
Where can I go to get my lawn mower serviced before spring?
Your lawn cannot look its best if your lawn mower isn't well maintained and ready to mow correctly. Contact your local Koenig Equipment Service Department to schedule your lawn mower service, or book your appointment online today!