As the weather warms up, it’s time to head outside and start enjoying your yard. It’s also time to begin getting your lawn in shape for the growing season.
The first step in getting your greenspace in ship shape for spring is to take a good look at what you are working with. Take a few moments to look at your yard and see what type of attention it needs, then ask yourself the following questions:
- Did your lawn suffer through an extremely hot, dry summer or tough winter?
- Does it have a few bare spots and problem weeds?
- Do you need to overseed or start an entirely new lawn?
- Is your lawn level, or do you need to take care of a few low or high areas?
If your yard is in fairly good shape, spot seeding or over seeding can repair it in just a few weeks. You can spot seed to mend a bare spot or two, or use overseeding techniques to spread seed over an existing lawn to fill it out. Early spring is a great time to begin over seeding your yard.
Once you have determined if your lawn is ready for spot seeding or overseeding, begin preparing the yardfor seed by following these steps to get your landscape ready.
- Clean up any fall and winter debris from the yard, like leaves, stones or sticks.
- If the growing season in your area has already begun, cut the grass short and collect the clippings.
- If you didn’t dethatch the lawn in the fall, go ahead and do it now. Dethatching removes dead roots and grasses that can build up during a growing season. Use a garden rake or thatching rake to remove dead vegetation from your yard.
- Aerate the lawn. Aerating breaks up the soil surface and punches holes into the earth, allowing air, water, nutrients, and new seeds to penetrate the soil. Run it over your lawn in the same pattern that you use when mowing. Every lawn benefits from regular aeration. For optimum growth, lawns should be aerated once or twice a year, in spring and fall. After aerating, you can add organic matter, such as peat moss, to enrich and loosen the soil.
- Rake or till any bare spots to break up the soil to a depth of approximately 2 inches.
- Identify any problem weed areas and spray them with a nonselective herbicide designed to eliminate a broad range of plants. If you’re doing a total lawn renovation, apply the herbicide to the entire lawn. Nonselective herbicides kill all plants, so be careful not to apply on nearby decorative plants.
- Wait several days for the vegetation to die, then rake or till the soil, removing the problem plants and any other vegetation and creating a clean bed about 2 inches deep.
- As needed, check for low or high spots in your yard. Repair them by taking the following steps:
- Fill in low spots by adding topsoil, but remember that topsoil provides a great medium for weeds to germinate in your yard. Watch for them and pull immediately.
- Remove high spots by cutting an X in the raised area with a garden spade. Peel the sod back, remove as much soil as necessary from underneath and lay the sod back in place.