My first priority this coming spring season is my lawn. We inherited our lawn when we purchased our property last year, and it was rough then so I’m thinking after this past winter it’s going to need some tender loving care.
Being a “do-it-yourself” kind of guy I started doing my research, and I think I’ve come up with a pretty easy little plan. I put the plan to paper, and I thought I’d share it on The Perfect Garden Hose blog page. So read if your lawn needs a spring “makeover” read on…
1. Aerate Your Soil
Your soil becomes hard and compacted over time making it hard for water, oxygen and your grass’s roots to penetrate. An aerator uses steel tubes to take plugs of soil from the lawn allowing water, oxygen, and root systems to better permeate your lawn. Aerating once a year reduces compaction, and increases the vigor of your lawn.
There are 2 types of aerators, walk behinds, & tow behinds. The walk behind is used just like your walk behind lawn mower, and it’s perfect for small to average size lawn. If you have a much larger lawn you might want a tow behind aerator. Both should be available at your local equipment rental store for roughly $100 per day.
2. Mow Low
Make sure to make your first mow as low as possible. If you have cool-season grass you can skip this part however, it isn’t a bad idea and I will be following this step. Those with warm-season lawns should definitely mow that old grass low to remove thatch. Thatch is an accumulation of dead stems and leaves that prevents water and nutrients from reaching the roots and promotes disease.
3. Thatch with a Thatcher (Optional)
I myself do not think that mowing my grass low as in the previous step will release enough that, so I will actually be thatching my lawn this spring. There are several types of thatchers, but I will be using a simple thatching rake that has short, sharp, ridged tines. It’s very easy, simply “rake” the thatch out, then with a wire rake collect the thatch, and either compost or discard.
Heavy thatching should really be done in the late fall when the grass is slowing its rate of growth rather than just starting to grow. However, I personally think a light thatch in early spring stimulate growth, and cut down on “weed seeds” getting going.
4. Stop Weed Growth
Apply a pre-emergent weed killer on lawns to prevent grassy weeds from germinating. However, spring broadleaf weeds like dandelions, and clovers, are best prevented by maintaining, frequent, proper mowing height. After a mild winter, annual weeds that germinate in the fall, like henbit and chickweed, will require higher levels of broadleaf weed control through herbicides, but never use chemical weed killers! Seek out natural and effective options such as Burn Out, (made from clove oil, vinegar and lemon juice) instead.
Spring is a crucial time to fertilize because it replenishes the food reserves your lawn uses while dormant in the winter. If you’re an avid composter you should have the means to make compost tea to fertilize your lawn. This will produce a thick, healthy lawn that also helps prevent weeds. If you’re not a so called composter, there are plenty of organic “spring-boosters” available.
So these are the basic steps I’ll be taking this spring to help get my new “inherited lawn back in shape. If your lawn is struggling, I’m confident that by following the steps above you’ll enjoy a thick green lawn all summer long!!
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