Spring Lawn Care Steps: Essential Tips for Lawn Maintenance

As spring returns, the soil warms up, essential microbes stir, and dormant grass is ready to wake up and grow. Learn the essentials of spring lawn care and landscape maintenance from the pros at Lawn Pride®, and you (and your lawn) will be ready for the new season.

Preparing Your Lawn for Spring

Spring is the ideal time to refresh your lawn and ensure it has the best conditions to grow lush and healthy. Start with the following tasks for lawn preparation.

Initial Cleanup: Rake and Dethatching Basics

The first spring lawn care step is cleanup. Once the spring thaw makes it safe to walk on your lawn without damaging it, it’s time to get to work. Remove twigs and fallen leaves before your first spring mowing, then thoroughly rake the lawn to loosen up and remove thatch.

Soil Aeration Basics: When and How

The next step in spring lawn care is soil aeration. It’s best to aerate the soil; of cool-season grasses in early spring, but you can wait until late spring or summer for warm-season grasses. You can find manual aerator tools that clip onto your shoes, upright tools you step on, or push-style aerators at your local home store. Soil aeration is an essential part of spring lawn care that breaks up compacted soil, removes thatch, and revitalizes roots by improving their oxygen, water, and mineral uptake.

Fertilizing for Spring

Fertilizing the lawn gives roots the necessary nutrients to grow thick and healthy grass. You can start fertilizing in early spring, but wait until your lawn has greened up. Otherwise, you could end up just feeding the weeds or creating fertilizer runoff.

Choosing the Right Fertilizer for Your Lawn

Choose a slow-release, nitrogen-rich fertilizer appropriate for your grass type and local soil conditions. Apply a light feeding if temperatures are cool in your area. A more robust feeding is appropriate if you live in a warmer climate. Always follow the package directions to avoid overfertilizing, which damages your lawn.

The Role of Lime in Lawn Care

You can pick up a soil test at your local home store to learn your lawn’s soil pH. If the soil is too acidic, your grass will suffer while weeds, pests, and diseases flourish. Applying lime can correct soil acidity and bring it to the 5.8 to 7.2 range your lawn requires.

Spring Irrigation Tips

Spring lawn maintenance requires about an inch of water each week. Whether you need to supplement rainfall and how much will depend on the temperatures and weather in your region. Water your lawn in the morning before the heat intensifies. This will help prevent too much water loss due to evaporation. Deep watering promotes long, deep roots, making the lawn healthier and more resilient.

Seeding and Lawn Regeneration

At Lawn Pride, we don’t consider full lawn reseeding a part of spring lawn care. Instead, we recommend waiting until fall to seed your lawn. This is for two reasons. First, when seeding in the spring, your lawn can’t have any weed control or pre-emergent applied until the new grass has germinated and grown tall enough to be mowed twice. Young grass cannot handle weed control and will die if it is applied too soon.

The second reason is that since weed control cannot be applied, your new grass will have to fight for room to grow with faster-growing weeds.

Let’s face it: seeding your lawn isn’t cheap. You want the best results possible when you spend your hard-earned money on seeding. The only exception to waiting on seeding is when your lawn has less than 50% grass. In that case, any green is better than dirt!

Of course, reseeding targeted locations is an ideal way to repair brown or bare spots in the lawn.

Seeding Techniques

Aerate (break up the soil) before seeding. This allows for better seed-to-soil contact, increasing the likelihood of good germination.

New seeds need to stay moist for proper germination. If you don’t have sufficient rainfall, water the seeds lightly each day.

Tackle Bare Spots: Seed Types and Timing

Reseeding helps you fill in bare spots. Stick with the grass seed blend of your existing lawn for a uniform look. Cool-season grasses can be reseeded to repair bare patches all spring, but late spring to early summer is better for warm-season grasses.    

Spring Pest & Weed Control

When spring is in the air, grass, soil microbes, pests, and weeds wake up and begin to feed and grow. Take some proactive steps and get ahead of them!

Early Identification and Control of Spring Weeds

Spring is the perfect time to use a pre-emergent herbicide in northern climates to stop crabgrass from invading your lawn. In southern gardens, use a weed control treatment that targets broadleaf weeds.

Spring Grub Control and Treatment

As you conduct these spring lawn care steps, you’ll likely encounter grubs in other parts of the garden, like your flower beds. The grubs you find at this time of the year are not the ones that damage your lawn. However, the grubs you have now will soon transform into the beetles that will deliver the next generation of grubs that will cause turf damage. Spring is also when grub damage from late summer and fall becomes the most visible as the lawn greens up.

Applying nematodes (microscopic worms) in the spring can help prevent grub infestations from getting out of control. These natural predators enter grubs' bodies and release bacteria that are lethal to them. Or, consider Lawn Pride’s unique grub control program, which comes with a one-of-a-kind guarantee. If you use the program and continue to have grub damage, we will come back and treat your lawn again and restore it to its prior condition at no additional charge!

Fungus Among Us: Prevention and Cure

Spring weather can bring unwanted turf fungal infections such as red thread and dollar spot. These diseases can develop at any time of the year but are most common in the spring and fall when temperatures are cooler and the soil is frequently too wet. The best prevention for lawn fungus is to:

  • Avoid overwatering
  • Water early in the morning so the grass dries in the sun
  • Leave grass at least three inches long (too-short grass is hospitable to fungus and disease)

Some types of lawn diseases can be treated with a simple nitrogen-rich fertilizer. In severe cases, a fungicide treatment may be needed.

Mowing Strategies for Spring Health and Growth

The tips and tricks for optimal mowing are essential pieces of the lawn maintenance puzzle. Getting the mowing right is critical to your lawn’s health.

Mowing Recommendations: Frequency and Height

Depending on the type of grass, set the mower to about 3 to 4 inches. There are many benefits to mowing tall. It promotes deeper root growth, improving drought tolerance. Tall turf also provides better shade for the root system, helping to conserve water and block out the growth of unwanted weeds. Additionally, longer grass produces more food for the roots through photosynthesis, reducing the need for fertilizer.

Alternate your mowing direction with each new mow. Always mowing the same pattern encourages your grass to grow in the direction you mow. Varying the direction promotes straighter blade growth, which makes your grass stronger and more resilient at the same time.

When mowing, follow the one-third rule and remove only the top third of your grass blades. If you cut much shorter than that, you risk damaging, weakening, or even killing your grass. In spring, lawn care may require mowing weekly or even more often to keep up with your grass growth.

When to Mow

Knowing when to mow the lawn in spring will increase your chances of successful seasonal maintenance. For general lawn maintenance, it is best to mow after the morning dew has evaporated but before the hottest time of day. Mowing wet grass can cause the cut grass to form clumps. If clumps are left on the lawn, they will block the sunlight, causing the grass below the clumps to turn yellow. Mowing slick, wet grass is also hard on your lawn mower, causing a ragged and torn grass leaf rather than an even cut. Wet, stuck-on grass also causes corrosion damage to the lawn mower.

The Importance of Sharp Mower Blades

Whether your lawn mower is new or old, your mower blade should be sharpened often. A sharp blade produces a clean cut, is less damaging to the lawn, and does not overburden the engine, thereby lengthening the functional life of your mower. Also, you should replace the blade when it develops any nicks, bends, or other damage.

Lawn Clipping Management: Mulch or Remove?

Grass clippings are one of the easiest and most effective ways to feed your lawn. As grass clippings break down, they return nutrients to the soil. Only do this when the grass is dry because wet grass clumps together and can kill the growing leaves beneath it.

Request a Free Quote for Lawn Care Services Today

If you don’t have the time for the spring lawn care and landscape maintenance you need, call on the pros at Lawn Pride. Let our professional lawn care services turn your grass into the lush green lawn that will be the envy of the neighborhood.

We take pride in our work and your lawn. You can count on being pleased with our service because the Neighborly Done Right PromiseTM backs everything we do. We get the job done right the first time.

Request a free quote or contact us today. Let’s make yours a lawn you’ll be proud of.

Troubleshooting Common Spring Lawn Problems

Spring lawn care and landscape maintenance are complex. When you run into questions, your local Lawn Pride experts have the answers you need for a lush and healthy lawn.

FAQ: Answers to Your Spring Lawn Care Questions

I have crabgrass in my yard. Will the pre-emergent you put down get rid of it?

You might have crabgrass, or it could be coarse fescue. The two are often confused, as coarse fescue has thick blades and can resemble crabgrass. Whichever it is, pre-emergent won't get rid of it, as pre-emergent is a preventative application.

Unwanted grasses such as coarse fescue and crabgrass will outperform most cool-season grasses in the summer. Keeping the lawn well-watered will help cool-season grasses thrive when temperatures are high and rain is lacking.

In any case, if you see unwanted grasses in the lawn, we recommend aerating and seeding in the fall. This can help thicken up the lawn with good turfgrass and gives less room for unwanted grasses to grow. If it’s a small amount of unwanted grass, the most effective remedy is to pull up the unwanted grass and reseed the area. If you do not reseed the area, more unwanted grass will have the opportunity to germinate.

Is there anything I can do to prevent dandelions from growing on my lawn?

There isn’t a product you can apply to prevent broadleaf weeds from growing on your lawn. However, there are a few things you can do to help keep them at bay. Aerating and seeding in the fall will thicken up the lawn, leaving less room for weeds to grow, thereby helping to keep them out naturally. Maintaining a weed control regimen will help to kill weeds as they start to germinate.

Why does my front yard look different than my backyard?

There are a couple of things that can contribute to this. First of all, front lawns are treated very differently when homes are built. Contractors focus on curb appeal and typically use sod in front yards of new homes. Backyards are not only where unwanted dirt gets discarded but are generally seeded with a low-quality “contractor” seed mix. This has a significant effect on the soil quality and the type of grass you will have. Aerating and seeding your lawn will choke out the unwanted grasses and introduce the good grasses you want.

Another major factor is exposure. The amount of sun and shade can be very different in turf areas. Areas with lots of trees can block the amount of sun that the lawn is getting. Even the homes and outbuildings around the home will cast shade during different times of the day, which can affect the lawn’s growth and health.

Why does my yard look like there is wheat growing in it?

A: What you are seeing is your grass going to seed. This process occurs around late spring and early summer. At this time, the plant's resources are focused on producing seed. This can make the color of your lawn look less vibrant. But don’t worry; it only lasts a few weeks. It is safe for you to cut your lawn regularly.

Fun Fact: Most turf grasses do not produce viable seeds. The few that do have to grow about 12 inches tall before the seed is viable.