Whether you’re a seasoned homeowner or a brand new one, winter is a great time to plan ahead and make a spring to-do list for your yard. There are activities you may tackle yourself, like raking and mowing, but others – like aerating and fertilizing – may require some professional help. Planning now will help you achieve the lush green lawn and beautiful garden beds you’ve always desired.
7 Ways to Prepare Your Lawn and Landscape for Spring
As soon as the snow has melted, it’s time to begin inspecting your lawn and landscape for winter damage. Be on the lookout for dry patches, mold, grub infestation, and diseases. Check trees, shrubs, and plants for broken branches, sun scald, salt burn, and frost heave.
Raking is an important step for spring lawn care – even if you raked your lawn in the fall. By raking, you will be able to remove any leaves and twigs that are visible. More importantly, though, you will be controlling thatch. Thatch is the build up of natural materials, like dead grass shoots and organic debris, that collects on top of the soil. If your thatch build-up is more than half an inch, it can damage the roots of your grass. Raking will help break up and loosen the thatch, and help you remove it.
Lawns can be fertilized in two different ways. You can either fertilize organically by using compost, or you can feed your lawn using a chemical fertilizer. Be mindful that if you feed too heavily in the spring, you can actually create disease and weed problems. This is especially true if you fertilized in late fall; your grass may still be digesting the food you gave it before winter.
- If you have moss and weeds in your lawn, then there’s a good chance that your soil is too acidic. Since grass likes a neutral pH, adding lime to your soil will help balance it out. Lime doesn’t work overnight, though; it is a slow process. Don’t expect to see results immediately.
- Once you have neutralized the pH of your turf, you can then apply a slow-releasing nitrogen-based fertilizer to perk up your grass and make it greener. If you are planning to overseed, wait until the new grass starts to germinate at about five weeks before applying it.
- If you’d really like to know what’s going on in your soil, you can have it tested at your local county extension service. They will be able to tell you how much lime or nitrogen you need to apply per square foot.
After fertilizing, it’s a good time to overseed your lawn. Neglect, foot traffic, and even pets can cause grass to die and create bare patches. By overseeding your turf, you can fill in bald spots and improve the thickness of your lawn. It also allows you to mix in a new variety of seed that can improve the overall color of your grass.
Take the time to tune-up your lawn mower before you begin spring mowing. It will run better, last longer, and burn fuel more efficiently. In fact, tuning up your mower can increase fuel efficiency by one-third.
- First change the oil. New oil helps your mower run cleaner and smoother.
- Next, replace the air filter. It helps the mower to maintain the correct fuel-to-air ratio, which in turn helps your mower use less gas.
- Then, replace the spark plug. A new spark plug will help your mower start quicker.
- Lastly, sharpen the blades. Dull blades tear the grass, making it brown and yellow on top. A nice sharp cut will keep your grass looking greener and healthier.
Once your mower is in tip-top shape, you are ready to begin mowing. Proper mowing can strengthen your lawn’s resilience to pests and weeds. Keep in mind that your lawn will look best when you only remove one-third of the grass blade during a mowing session. It’s much better to mow more frequently than to mow too deeply. As a general rule of thumb, avoid cutting any cool-season grasses below two and a half inches.
After cleaning up your landscape and getting your lawn ready for spring, it’s time to plan what shrubs and plants need to be removed and replaced. This is also a good time to decide if you would like to make any enhancements to your landscape. Some vibrant annuals or flowering perennials can liven up your yard and provide color well into fall.
A Beautiful, Healthy Lawn and Landscape in 2017
Your landscape can greatly enhance the curb appeal of your home. By carefully planning your lawn care and landscaping right now, you can produce a yard that will make you proud. If you think that you may need some help checking items off your to-do list this spring, give the experts at Epling a call today. We’d love to help you achieve the lawn and landscape of your dreams in 2017.